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Have You or a Loved One Been Arrested? Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson Answers Your Questions

Finest Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
The following are important answers to 50 questions that you may have at this moment. Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson WILL help you reach a resolution to the legal problem that has arisen in your life. At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, we want you to know what you are facing and that we can help you through this challenging time. Give us a call today. We are available 24/7, rain or shine.

 

How Are Criminal Charges Filed?

Criminal proceedings take place in a series of stages. Usually, the police are responding to a citizen’s complaint that a crime has been committed. Sometimes, the police observe suspicious activity. Once they are called, or see something suspicious, the police investigate, take statements from witnesses, and prepare a report on their findings. At times, they will arrest people during the course of their investigation. At other times, they will complete their report and submit it to the prosecutor’s office for evaluation, and a prosecutor will decide whether charges should be filed against any suspects named in the police report.The exact procedure for how charges are filed varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions give the police greater discretion in charging defendants with specific crimes, while others place more power with the prosecutor’s office. After being stopped by the police, a person may be ticketed for a “civil infraction,” may be ticketed or arrested for a “misdemeanor,” or may be arrested for a “felony.”While it is common to speak in terms of being “charged by the police,” in many states this is not entirely accurate. The exact procedure for how charges are filed varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and, although the police may arrest a person and may recommend a specific charge, in many jurisdictions criminal charges is chosen solely by the prosecutor’s office.

What happens if I am stopped by the Police?

Generally, the police may stop a person for committing a traffic violation, for suspicion of being engaged in criminal activity, or to arrest the person for a criminal act. After being stopped by the police, a person will typically be questioned.

Can The Police Stop And Question People Who Are Not Under Arrest?

Yes. The police can stop a person, and ask questions, without “arresting” the person. Upon seeing suspicious activity, the police may perform what is called a “Terry Stop,” and may temporarily detain people to request that they identify themselves and to question them about the suspicious activity. The scope of a “Terry Stop” is limited to investigation of the specific suspicious activity, and if the police detain people to question them about additional matters, the stop can turn into an “arrest.” For their own safety, the police can perform a “weapons frisk” on the outside of a person’s clothes (sometimes called “patting down the suspect”) during a “Terry Stop.” During this frisk, if they feel something that may be a weapon, they may remove it from the suspect for further examination. However, they are not entitled to remove items from person’s pockets that do not appear to be weapons, even if they believe that the items are contraband.

When Is A Person “Under Arrest”?

Many people think of an arrest as being a formal declaration by the police, “You are under arrest,” followed by the reading of the “Miranda rights”. (As seen on TV: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you.”)Reality is a bit more complicated. An arrest occurs when a person no longer reasonably expects that he is free to leave. A “Terry Stop” is not an arrest, even though the person can’t leave during the investigatory questioning, as the detention is of short duration and is limited in its scope. (A “Terry Stop” may involve little more than a short series of questions, such as, “What is your name? Where do you live? Why are you here?”) However, if a person is not allowed to leave the scene for an extended period of time, the person may be considered to be “under arrest,” even though those words are never used. If a person is handcuffed, is locked in the back of a police car, or is otherwise restrained from leaving, the person will ordinarily be considered to be “under arrest.”

If The Police Ask To Search Me, My House, Or My Car, Do I Have
To Say “Yes”?

No. You can refuse the police permission to conduct a search. Remember this – the only reason the police officer wants to perform a search is for evidence of criminal activity, and the fact that he is asking reflects an expectation that he will find some. You are entitled to say “No.” If the police officer has the legal authority to perform the search, he will do so whether or not you agree. However, if he does not have the legal authority to perform a search, your consent gives him that authority.During an investigative stop, or a traffic stop, a police officer may ask if he can search you or your car. However, if you give the police officer permission, he can perform the search even if he otherwise had no legal authority to do so. Some people don’t know, or forget, that they have an “open” bottle of liquor in the car – a bottle with the seal broken, whether or not the cap is off. Sometimes, people have knives or other weapons which can be classified as illegal “concealed weapons.” Sometimes, people forget that they have contraband in their cars, such as illegal drugs, or find to their chagrin that their teenaged child dropped a marijuana cigarette in the car. Unless you are the only person with access to the interior of your car, you may be in for a surprise if you grant permission for a search.

Do The Police Have To “Read Me My Rights” When I Am Arrested?

The police have no obligation to formally announce the arrest when it occurs, or to read a suspect his “Miranda Rights.” Typically, at some point the police will inform a suspect that he has been arrested. However, many defendants never receive their “Miranda Rights,” which relate to the validity of police questioning of suspects who are in custody, and not to the arrest itself.

What Is The Difference Between A “Terry Stop” And An “Arrest.”

While a “Terry Stop” can be made upon “reasonable suspicion” that a person may have been engaged in criminal activity, an arrest requires “probable cause” that a suspect committed a criminal offense.

Can the Police Arrest Me Without A Warrant?

For most misdemeanor offenses, a police officer can only make a warrantless arrest of a suspect if the offense was committed in the officer’s presence. Officers can arrest people for felonies based upon witness statements, or where a warrant for the person’s arrest has been issued.

What Happens If I am Arrested Without Legal Cause?

It is important to note that an “illegal arrest” does not mean that a person can’t be charged with a crime. If a person is arrested illegally, and is searched or questioned by the police, evidence gained through the search or questioning may be declared inadmissible. However, there are circumstances where that evidence will be admitted into court despite the illegality of the arrest. Further, if a person has outstanding warrants for other charges, he may be detained on those charges, even though his initial arrest was illegal.

If I Am Arrested, Can The Police Search Me?

The police have the authority to perform a search of a suspect and his immediate surroundings, “incident” to the arrest of the suspect. If the police arrest a person who was driving a car, they ordinarily get the authority to search the entire passenger compartment of the car – and will usually also be able to search passengers for weapons. If the car is impounded, the police may perform an “inventory search” of the entire car, including the contents of the trunk.

What Can The Police Charge Me With?

A person who has been stopped by the police may be ticketed for a “civil infraction,” may be ticketed or arrested for a “petty offense” or “misdemeanor,” or may be arrested for a “felony,” or may be released. It is possible for the person to later be charged, when the police complete their investigation.Sometimes, the person will be informed that charges have been filed, and will be asked to present himself at the police station by a particular date and time.At other times, a “warrant” for the person’s arrest may be entered into the state’s computer system, informing police officers to arrest the person if they find him. If the charges are serious, the police may go out to arrest the person.

Civil Infractions

A “civil infraction” is not a crime, although it is a charge filed by the state. The state has to prove that you committed a civil infraction by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is to say; that it is more likely than not that you committed the violation. This is a much lower standard than the “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that applies in civil cases. The typical civil infraction is decided by a judge or magistrate, without a jury, in what is typically a short proceeding.

Petty Offenses

Some states have a class of “petty offenses,” where the defendant may be tried without a jury before a judge or magistrate. Typically, the only punishment for a “petty offense” is a fine. However, these offenses may be of a criminal nature. If you are not sure whether you are charged with a criminal offense or a civil infraction, consult a lawyer.

Misdemeanors

A “misdemeanor” is a criminal offense, and conviction ordinarily results in a criminal record. Misdemeanors are technically less serious offenses, although the consequences of conviction can nonetheless be quite severe. Possible punishments for misdemeanors include imprisonment, probation, fines, and at times driver’s license sanctions. Some misdemeanors are classified as “sex crimes” and require that a convicted person be registered as a “sex offender”, and keep the police informed of his place of residence — a requirement that may continue for life.

Felonies

Felonies are the most serious offenses that can be charged. Sometimes, the distinction between “felonies” and “misdemeanors” seems arbitrary. However, all of the most serious criminal offenses (such as murder, sexual assault, embezzlement, burglary, robbery, arson, and treason) are felonies.

How Do I Know If I Am Charged With A “Civil Infraction” Or A Crime?

Typical “civil infractions” include “moving violations”, such as “speeding” and “failure to yield.” Sometimes people get confused, when they are charged with a traffic misdemeanor, such as having invalid license plates or driving an uninsured automobile, and think that they are being charged with “civil infractions.” Traffic misdemeanors are criminal offenses, and will result in a criminal record. Many traffic misdemeanors also carry “points” which will be added to the defendant’s driving record, and some require the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. If you are ticketed for a “misdemeanor,” the ticket will likely reflect the nature of the charge, and you will be required to appear in court. If the charge is a “civil infraction,” you typically will not have to go to court if you pay a fine by mail. Read the ticket carefully.

Do Defendants Have The Same Rights When Facing Misdemeanor
And Felony Charges?

A defendant charged with a misdemeanor has fewer legal rights than a defendant charged with a felony. If the defendant will not face imprisonment as a result of conviction, he has no right to an attorney. There is no right to indictment by grand jury, or to a “preliminary examination” to review the basis of the charges filed. In some states, misdemeanor charges are tried before six person juries, whereas felonies are ordinarily tried before twelve person juries. Most other rights are the same, for both felonies and misdemeanors.

If I Have Not Been Arrested, How Do I Find Out If I Am Charged
With A Crime?

If there is reason to believe that you have been charged with a crime, you may wish to have an attorney contact the police or prosecutor to find out if a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Many people who have been charged with criminal offenses do not find out about the charges until they are stopped for traffic violations. The police, while checking their identification, find “outstanding warrants” for the person. Sometimes, the warrants have a “limited pick-up radius,” or the police officer does not believe that an immediate arrest is necessary, and the officer will simply inform the driver that a warrant has been filed and that the driver should report to the police agency that requested the warrant. At other times, the officer will make an immediate arrest, and will take the person into custody.

What Happens After I Am Arrested?

After being arrested, a person is “booked” by the police. Ordinarily, the police obtain identifying information from the suspect, such as his name, address, telephone number and driver’s license number. The person is checked for outstanding warrants for other offenses. Usually, the police take the suspect’s photograph and fingerprints. They make a record of this information, along with the nature of the crime charged, and usually an assessment of the suspect’s physical condition. If a person is under arrest at the time he is booked, he will ordinarily be thoroughly searched. If the arrest was legal, any evidence found in this search can be used as evidence in court.

Should I Consult An Attorney Before I Am Charged?

Yes, if possible. Unless you were arrested on an outstanding warrant, the fact that you have been arrested does not necessarily mean that charges have been authorized. An attorney can advise you of your rights, and how to handle contacts with the police. It can be very helpful to have an attorney intercede on your behalf before a warrant has been issued, as he may be able to influence the prosecutor’s “charging decision.” Sometimes, an attorney will be able to convince a prosecutor to charge a less serious offense, to send the complaint back to the police for more investigation, or even to refuse to authorize a warrant. However, once a warrant is issued, it is very difficult to get a prosecutor’s office to change the charge.

Do I Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Any person who is facing a criminal charge, no matter how minor, will benefit from consulting a competent criminal defense lawyer. Even if the lawyer is not retained to provide representation in court, a consultation will help a criminal defendant understand the nature of the charges filed, available defenses, what plea bargains are likely to be offered, and what is likely to happen in the event of conviction.For serious charges, it will be a rare defendant who does not benefit from having a competent criminal defense lawyer assist with the negotiation of a plea bargain, or to prepare a case for trial.A criminal defense lawyer should also be able to identify important pretrial issues, and to bring appropriate motions which might significantly improve a defendant’s situation, or even result in the dismissal of charges.

How Much Will My Defense Cost?

The cost of a criminal defense lawyer can vary significantly depending upon the jurisdiction, and the nature of the charges which have been filed (or which are expected to be filed) against the defendant. A lawyer will typically require a greater retainer for a complex case than for a simple case. The amount of a retainer will also typically increase with the severity of the charge filed against a defendant. Sometimes, though, a relatively minor charge can require a higher retainer, where the attorney expects to have to engage in extensive motion practice, or where it will be necessary to utilize expert witnesses.In a misdemeanor case, although as previously noted the typical fee will vary significantly between cities, counties, and states, it is not unusual for a lawyer to request a retainer of several thousand dollars. For felony cases, retainers often start at $5,000 – $10,000, and can be $25,000 or more for serious or life felonies, such as sexual assault cases or homicide. The anticipated cost of expert witnesses can also significantly increase a retainer.Be wary of entering into a retainer agreement which calls for additional payments if the case will go to trial. It is not unusual for appellate lawyers to hear clients recite that they entered into guilty pleas after they were unable to come up with the necessary funds to pay their lawyers to proceed with a trial. If you do decide to enter into an agreement whereby you will pay an additional retainer if your case goes to trial, make sure that it is an amount you can afford.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer

It is unfortunately not always easy to find a good criminal defense lawyer. Here are some suggestions:Referrals– It may be possible to find a criminal defense lawyer from somebody who is familiar with the lawyer’s practice. For example, if you regularly work with a lawyer or law firm, that lawyer may be able to suggest a competent criminal defense lawyer in your area. If your county is served by a public defender’s office, sometimes a defender’s office will be willing to suggest a competent are defense lawyer. If you have a friend or family member who has been in trouble with the law, that person may be able to make some suggestions.

Courtroom Observation

– You may wish to sit through some public sessions of court while criminal cases are being argued. If you find a particular lawyer’s performance to be impressive, you may take note of the lawyer’s name and later contact the lawyer about the possibility of representing you.

State versus Federal Charges

– There are additional factors you may wish to consider when hiring a federal criminal defense attorney.

After you have located one or more attorneys whom you wish to consult about your case, call them to schedule appointments. (Find out at that time if they offer a free initial consultation, or if you will be charged for the meeting.) Try to speak with the criminal defense lawyer over the phone before scheduling the appointment. Ask about the lawyer’s general experience with criminal defense, and any specific experience with cases like yours.

Trust your instincts – if you aren’t comfortable with an attorney you consult, try a different office. You do not have any obligation to hire a lawyer merely because you consulted with that lawyer. If your lawyer is promising you that your case is easy, or makes promises that you won’t go to jail, speak to other lawyers before signing a retainer agreement – some lawyers misrepresent the gravity of a defendant’s situation or the complexity of a case in order to entice the defendant to pay a retainer, and then blame the judge or prosecutor when the rosy scenario they initially promised turns out to be a nightmare.

Read the entire fee agreement with the lawyer before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy for your own records.

Private Defense Counsel or Appointed Counsel?

People who are charged with felony offenses, and many individuals who are charged with misdemeanors, may be eligible for appointed counsel or for assistance through a public defender’s office. When a defendant petitions for a court-appointed lawyer, the trial judge will typically make an assessment of the defendant’s resources to determine if the defendant will qualify for an appointment of a criminal defense lawyer. When an appointment is made, although the defendant may be ordered to repay certain attorney fees following a guilty plea or conviction, there will not ordinarily be any fee in the event of acquittal or dismissal of the charges.Some people assume that a court appointed criminal defense lawyer will offer services which are inferior to a privately retained lawyer. While it is certainly true that some public defenders, some appointed lawyers and some private attorneys will prove to be insufficiently skilled or dedicated to their work to provide an effective defense, it is generally asserted that the average public defender will provide better representation than the average private criminal defense lawyer. The primary reasons for this include experience, as a professional public defender will typically have much more experience with criminal cases than a private lawyer, the ability to collaborate with other experienced lawyers within the office, and also due to the resources and systems available to a typical public defender’s office. Many private criminal defense lawyers take appointments – meaning that if you are charged in a jurisdiction that appoints private lawyers to represent criminal defendants, many of the lawyers you might otherwise retain will be among those to whom a court might assign your case. And even if you are ordered to repay legal fees, the cost of an appointed lawyer is almost always significantly lower than the cost of a retained lawyer.In short, if you can hire an effective criminal defense lawyer you should not hesitate to do so. But, if your means are limited, you should also not hesitate to request an appointed defense lawyer, and should not fear that you will receive inferior representation just because your lawyer was appointed.

Changing Lawyers

It is important to note that your constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel relates almost exclusively to the performance of appointed counsel. It is virtually impossible to convince an appellate court that the incompetence of counsel of your own choosing constitutes an error requiring reversal. If you are not comfortable with the competence of your lawyer, retained or appointed, consult with a second lawyer to have your situation reviewed. It may well turn out that your lawyer is competent – but it is you who could go to prison, not your lawyer, if the lawyer is inept.

What Happens When I Go To Court For The First Time?

Typically, a criminal defendant’s first court hearing is an “arraignment” before a judge or magistrate. An “arraignment” is an appearance in court where charges are formally read to a defendant. The judge or magistrate may also evaluate whether there was probable cause for an arrest, and may compel the prosecutor to allege additional facts to support the arrest. If probable cause is not established, the defendant must be released.If bail has not previously been set, it is often set at the same time as the arraignment. Bail (or “bond”) is often granted in a standard amount, depending upon the crime charged.In some jurisdictions, there is a subsequent “formal” arraignment, where the formal charges (“indictment” or “information”) are presented to the defendant. These charges are drafted by the prosecutor, and may vary from any original charges that were drafted by the police.

Do I Enter A Plea At The Arraignment?

At arraignment, the defendant is offered the opportunity to enter a formal plea. Sometimes, a defendant will plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” In some circumstances, the defendant may enter a “no contest” plea, which is treated by the court in the same manner as a guilty plea. Sometimes, the defendant will “stand mute,” and a “not guilty” plea will be entered by the court on his behalf. If a “not guilty” plea is entered, the court will ordinarily advise the suspect of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney. If a defendant is indigent, he will usually be given the opportunity to petition the court for an appointed attorney.Usually, a defendant should speak to an attorney (even if only for a free consultation) before deciding whether or not to enter a plea of “guilty” or “no contest.” There is no need to rush into a plea to “get it over with” — particularly given that a bad decision can haunt you for the rest of your life.

Can I Get Released From Jail?

If bail is granted, and the defendant posts the required bail, he will be released. Sometimes, a defendant will be released on his own recognizance — his promise that he will appear for the next court hearing. Sometimes, bail is set in a very high amount. A defendant who is accused of very serious crimes may be denied bail, or have bail set in the millions of dollars. A defendant who is released on bail must attend all subsequent court hearings, or risk having his bail forfeited. (Keep this in mind — if you put your house or your car up as collateral for somebody else’s bail, you risk losing it if that person does not appear in court.)

What Happens After The Arraignment?

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the next hearing is likely to be a “pretrial,” where the case is scheduled for trial. Sometimes, a defendant will enter a plea at the pretrial. At other times, the case will be scheduled for a “bench trial,” “jury trial,” or “plea hearing.”If a defendant is charged with a felony, but has not been “indicted” by a “grand jury,” the next step will likely be a “preliminary examination” where the prosecution must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a judge that there is reason to believe that a crime was committed, and that the defendant was the person who committed the crime. The defendant is allowed to question witnesses at this hearing. While the defendant ordinarily can present evidence, and may choose to testify, most defendants choose not to do so. If the Court is satisfied by the prosecutor’s evidence, the felony charges will be approved. Depending upon your state’s rules of criminal procedure, a defendant may be transferred to a different court for all further proceedings. He may be arraigned again, after the preliminary examination, and subsequently will have a pretrial.

What Do The Attorneys Do Between The Arraignment And The Trial?

During this time, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will likely demand “discovery” from each other. Often, this means nothing more than that the prosecutor gives the defense a copy of the police report, and perhaps some laboratory reports if the case involves drugs or drunk driving. While defense attorneys may differ, many prosecutors argue that this meager discovery fulfills their duties. The prosecution is obligated to provide the defense with the names and addresses of all relevant witnesses, and with copies of written or recorded statements made by the defendant or by co-defendants. The prosecution may be compelled by statute or court rule to provide additional information upon request, such as copies of witness statements, and reports from expert witnesses. The specific materials and information that must be exchanged will vary from state to state. Increasingly, the defense is required to provide certain information to the prosecutor, including witness lists, and may also be required to provide expert witness reports. In some states, the parties can conduct depositions of witnesses, where the witness testifies under oath before a court reporter, prior to trial. However, most states do not allow for depositions in criminal cases.Depending upon state law, a defendant will have to notify the prosecution if he plans to bring certain defenses to the criminal charges, such as an alibi defense, an insanity or diminished capacity defense. The purpose of the notice requirement is to allow the prosecutor to prepare for the defense, and to collect evidence and interview witnesses to challenge the defense. A defendant who is claiming insanity will ordinarily be examined by a state psychiatrist, and the refusal to submit to examination will usually prevent the defendant from raising that defense.

What If I Can’t Find A Witness?

The defendant generally has the right to request that the prosecutor’s office assist him in procuring witnesses for trial. Indigent defendants usually receive the greatest assistance, which may include issuance of subpoenas. However, due to the prosecutor’s access to information and police assistance that is not available to the defendant, the prosecutor is ordinarily obligated to help any defendant locate a missing witness.

What Is Involved In Pretrial “Motion Practice”?

Prior to the trial, either the defendant or the prosecutor may file motions with the trial court. Typical motions include motions to suppress evidence, motions in limine, and motions to dismiss. A motion to suppress evidence asks the trial court to exclude evidence from the trial, usually on the basis that it was collected in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, if the defendant is arrested illegally, and is searched after his arrest, the evidence found during that search may be inadmissible. Similarly, a defendant may seek to exclude a statement or confession that he made to the police. A motion in limine asks the court to limit the issues or evidence at trial. For example, a defendant may wish to ask the court to exclude certain inflammatory allegations about him, which are not related to the charges against him, or portions of the defendant’s criminal record which are not properly admitted under the rules of evidence. The prosecutor may also wish to introduce evidence which cannot properly be linked to the defendant or the alleged crime, due to the circumstances or manner in which it was collected. A motion to dismiss asks the court to dismiss the charges against the defendant, usually on the basis of a procedural deficiency. A motion to dismiss may be filed following an illegal arrest, where all of the evidence presented by the prosecution was found as the result of that arrest.

What Is A “Diversion Program”?

At times, prior to trial, a defendant may be found eligible for a “diversion” program. These programs are not available in all communities. Typically, they are aimed at young offenders who have no significant criminal records. If a person successfully completes the conditions of a “diversion” program, which may include such requirements as counseling, attendance of “crime impact” classes, and regular attendance at school, either no charge is filed, or the charge is dismissed. If the defendant violates the terms of the diversion program, the charges are reinstated.

What Is The Significance Of My “Speedy Trial” Right?

A defendant has a constitutional right to a “speedy trial.” The meaning of “speedy,” and the benefits of demanding a “speedy trial,” varies from state to state. In some states, most defendants have to waive their right to a “speedy trial” in order to get sufficient time to prepare their defenses. If a defendant demands a “speedy trial,” he cannot later claim that he did not have time to prepare his defense. However, if a defendant demands a “speedy trial” and the prosecutor is not prepared to proceed to trial, the charges against the defendant may be dismissed.

What Is The Difference Between A “Bench Trial” And A “Jury Trial”?

A case that goes to trial will be heard by a judge in a “bench trial,” or by a judge and jury in a “jury trial.” In a jury trial, the judge decides the law, while the jury decides the facts. In a bench trial, the judge decides both the law and the facts. Both the prosecutor and the defendant have the right to demand a jury trial, although prosecutors are usually happy to consent to bench trials.

What Is “Jury Selection” And “Voir Dire”?

If a case is scheduled for jury trial, the parties engage in “jury selection.” During jury selection, a panel of jurors is questioned by the judge, by the attorneys, or both, in a process called “voir dire.” The purpose of this hearing is to determine if the jurors will be fair and impartial, and will decide the case based upon the evidence presented in court. Both the prosecution and defense can challenge jurors “for cause,” claiming that the jurors are prejudiced against their side. The judge determines if there is valid cause to exclude a particular juror from hearing a case. Both the prosecution and defense also receive a limited number of “peremptory challenges,” which allow them to remove jurors without any reason or explanation.

What Happens At Trial?

Typically, at the start of a trial the jury will be given preliminary instructions. The jury is instructed at this time that the defendant is presumed innocent, and that the presumption of innocence does not change until the jury begins deliberations. Jurors are not supposed to abandon the presumption of innocence before hearing all of the evidence in the case.Next, the attorneys will present opening statements. Witnesses are presented first by the prosecution, and next by the defense. At times, the defense will not present any witnesses, either because the prosecution called all of the relevant witnesses during its case, or because the defense wishes to argue that the prosecutor’s case is insufficient to justify conviction. The defendant cannot be compelled to testify against himself, but he has the right to testify in his own defense if he chooses to do so.At the conclusion of the defendant’s case, the prosecutor may present “rebuttal” witnesses to respond to arguments or evidence introduced by the defendant. Sometimes, the defendant will be allowed to present “rebuttal” to the prosecutor’s “rebuttal.”After all of the testimony has been taken, the attorneys will present their closing arguments. The jury is then given additional instructions, and commenced deliberations. Sometimes the defense attorney will request a “directed verdict” of not guilty, meaning that the judge will instruct the jury that the only verdict it can return is “not guilty.” These motions are commonly made, but are rarely granted. If the jury cannot reach a verdict, the judge will eventually discharge the jury. The prosecutor must then decide whether to dismiss the charges or to seek a new trial.

What Happens If The Jury Acquits The Defendant?

If the jury acquits the defendant, finding him not guilty, the case is usually over. (In the United States, the prosecutor cannot appeal an acquittal. However, in some other nations, the prosecutor has a limited right to appeal.)

What Happens If The Jury Convicts The Defendant?

A jury can also return a verdict of guilty. If a defendant is charged with more than one offense, the jury may convict the defendant of some charges while acquitting of others. At times, the jury will choose between related offenses. For some offenses charged, the jury may convict of a “lesser included” offense. For example, if a defendant is charged with “open murder,” the jury may convict him for first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, or negligent homicide. (Please note that the names and elements of the various homicide offenses may vary from state to state.)After being convicted, a defendant may file post-trial motions, such as a motion for a new trial. These motions are rarely granted. The defendant may also file an appeal.

What Are The Possible Sentences For A Criminal Offense?

After sentencing, a defendant may simply be ordered to pay fines and costs, and be released. A defendant may also be ordered to participate in community service, or to spend time on a work crew. A defendant may be placed on probation, and may even be placed on “house arrest,” while wearing a “tether,” an electronic monitoring device. A defendant may also be sentenced to jail or prison. Courts can combine these various options, in fashioning a sentence for a defendant.

What Happens If I Am Placed On “Probation”?

A defendant may also be placed on probation. A defendant on probation will ordinarily meet with his probation officer monthly and at times more frequently. Sometimes, a defendant will be placed on “non-reporting” probation, where he does not meet with a probation officer.Typically, at the end of his probation, such a defendant will be asked to demonstrate that he complied with the terms of probation (such as by submitting attendance records from court-ordered Alcoholics Anonymous meetings), and his record will be checked for any further criminal activity. Sometimes, a defendant will be allowed to report by mail. This usually happens in cases where a defendant has been on probation without any problems for a long time, but his probation officer still wants periodic information on his activities.A defendant who has been convicted of a drug conviction may have to report to the probation office frequently for drug testing. A court may also order drug or alcohol counseling, or attendance of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcaholics Anonymous meetings. During probation, a probationer must typically seek permission from his probation officer before moving or changing jobs. He may be restricted from leaving the state without his probation officer’s permission.

How Long Does Probation Last?

Probation usually lasts between one and three years, but can last longer depending upon the offense committed and state policies. Some states have “life probation” for certain drug offenses, where a person is placed on probation indefinitely. After a probationer has paid off his fines and other court assessments, and has completed other requirements of his probation (such as community service), a probation officer will sometimes consider an early discharge from probation. However, most probationers complete their entire terms of probation. Many, upon violating the terms of their probation, are in fact ordered to report to probation more frequently. If violations are of a serious or repeated nature, a probationer can be charged with violating his probation, and be ordered to appear before a judge for a hearing.

What Is A “Tether,” or “Electronic Monitoring”?

Tethers are increasingly sophisticated devices. A typical tether has a portable unit which is strapped to the probationer’s leg, and a “base unit” which is connected to the probationer’s telephone line. The portable unit sends a constant signal to the base unit. The base unit keeps a record of when that signal is interrupted, and transmits that information by telephone to the probation office. The probationer on “house arrest” is placed on a strict schedule, and must account for any absences from his home that are not pre-approved by his probation officer. If a probationer is not home at the times he is supposed to be, the probation officer may contact the probationer to inquire why he was not at home, or may contact the police and have the probationer arrested.

What Happens If I “Violate” My Probation?

A probation officer has the discretion to give a probationer a warning, or to make him appear before a court for a “probation violation” hearing. If you go to a hearing, the probation officer will typically ask that you face additional punishment, usually involving incarceration. There is no “hard and fast” rule for what type of probation violation will result in a probation violation hearing. One violation that is almost always considered serious is failing to appear for scheduled meetings with the probation officer. Being caught in possession of illegal drugs, or being arrested for another crime, will also typically result in a hearing before a judge. At times, the seriousness of the violation may depend upon the facts of the underlying offense — for example, if a person is convicted of being involved in a gang-related offense, the violation of probation through “association with known criminals” may be viewed more seriously than if the person is on probation for driving a car while his driver’s license was suspended.

What Are My Rights At A “Probation Violation” Hearing?

It is important to note that probation violations are typically tried under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, where the prosecutor must show only that it is more likely than not that the probationer violated the terms of his probation. There have been many cases where a person’s probation was violated for engaging in new criminal activity, despite the fact that he was acquitted of the new charge, or was in fact never charged with a new offense.

What Happens If I Am Convicted Of A Probation Violation?

If a person is convicted of a probation violation, sometimes the court will extend his probation, or impose additional terms. Often, the court will sentence the probationer to a period of time in jail, followed by the continuation of his probation. Sometimes, the probationer will be resentenced to jail or prison, or will be ordered to complete a term that was previously “suspended.”

When Are Defendants Sentenced To Jail?

If the court feels that a more serious punishment is required than a term of probation, the offender may be sentenced to jail. “Jails” are typically run by County governments, and are used to house defendants prior to trial, and to punish people who have been convicted of less serious crimes. Although the exact terms vary from state to state, typically the maximum jail sentence is one year. At times, the offender will simply be sentenced to jail, while more typically the defendant will have to serve a term of probation after completing his jail sentence.

What If The Judge Thinks That Jail Is Not Enough?

If the defendant’s offenses are more serious, most states have a “boot camp” programs, which are intense, military-style facilities. Incarceration typically lasts about ninety days. Participants may be cautioned that if they drop out of the program, or are kicked out, they will be sent to prison. Some states reserve these programs for young offenders. As these programs can be physically strenuous, some people cannot participate in “boot camp” programs due to health conditions.If all else fails, the defendant will be sentenced to prison.

What Happens If I Go To Prison?

The most serious punishment for most crimes involves sentencing the defendant to prison, the “state penitentiary.” Following serving his “minimum term,” a portion of his sentence that varies from state to state, a defendant who is in prison will usually qualify for parole. Many defendants who are incarcerated can earn “good behavior” or “good time” credits, which allow them to qualify for an earlier release date by behaving. The idea is that model prisoners are less likely to re-offend, and that prisoners will behave better if they have an incentive not to cause trouble. Some prisoners will not be eligible for “good time,” due to the nature of their offenses. Often “habitual offenders” are not eligible for “good time” credits. Some jurisdictions have abolished “good time” for all prisoners.

Do All Prisoners Get Parole?

Parole is a privilege, not a right, and many prisoners are refused parole when they first apply. Parole boards expect to hear a prisoner admit responsibility for his crimes. They also expect that the prisoner will take advantage of the programs made available in prison, such as, if appropriate, GED programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, and vocational training. They will also look at the prisoner’s conduct during incarceration, and whether the prisoner has been cited for misconduct. (Typically, prisoners will be “ticketed” for their violations of prison rules, with offenses classified as “major” or “minor.” A prisoner who was involved in a fight would likely be ticketed for a “major” offense, while a prisoner who yelled at a guard might be ticketed for a “minor” offense, depending on the circumstances. These “tickets” can be challenged through administrative hearings, but are usually upheld as valid.) They may also look at the prisoner’s age, the amount of time he has served, the remaining time in his sentence, and his mental health. The exact criteria for parole vary from state to state.Perhaps the most important assessment that the parole board attempts to assess is the likelihood that the prisoner will re-offend. Parole boards have no interest in releasing people into society who will commit more crimes, particularly given that the media will sometimes hold the parole board as responsible as the criminal in such cases. Increasingly, potentially dangerous offenders, such as sex offenders, are finding that they are never granted parole, even in states where they are eligible.Some prisoners are not eligible for parole, either because of state policy, or because of the crime they committed. Some crimes carry a flat term of years, which must be completed without the possibility of parole. A defendant who is sentenced to “life” in prison will either be sentenced to “parolable life,” or to “non-parolable life.” If a person serving a “life” term is eligible for parole, he typically must serve fifteen or twenty years of his sentence before he can request parole. If a person is serving non-parolable life, he never becomes eligible for parole.

How Long Are People Kept On Parole?

The length of the parole will depend upon the nature of the crime committed, the length of the defendant’s sentence, and how well the defendant performs while on parole. A defendant who repeatedly gets into trouble or breaks the conditions of his parole may find that he is returned to prison. (Many states have jail-like facilities for “technical rule violators,” where they can send parolees who violate the terms of their paroles, but not to the level that the parole board wishes to return them to prison.) In most states, after a long enough period of good conduct, it is possible for a defendant to be discharged from parole.

Are Prisoners Simply “Released” From The Prison When They Receive Parole?

Release into the community may occur in stages. First, as the criminal nears his release date, he may be moved into less secure prison facilities. If he abuses the privileges at the less secure prison, he will be returned to a more secure facility. Prisoners in less secure facilities are sometimes allowed to work outside of the prison, either through a state program or sometimes through a private employer. If the prisoner continues to behave well, he may eventually qualify for placement in a half-way house, a residential facility where he can have a job, and may even qualify for day or weekend passes where he is free to do what he wants. If a prisoner successfully completes a term in a half-way house, he is usually paroled into the community.

What Happens After A Prisoner Is “Paroled Into The Community”?

A prisoner on parole is not without restriction. Sometimes, the prisoner will spend time on a “tether,” an electronic monitoring device that allows his parole officer to monitor his movements, and be restricted from doing much other than going to work. A parolee will typically not be allowed to move without permission from his parole officer. Sometimes, it will be a parole violation to get fired from a job. Parolees are typically restricted from associating with known criminals. If the parolee has drug or alcohol problems, he may be subjected to periodic testing for use. If the parolee has mental health problems, he may be ordered to participate in counseling or to obtain psychiatric treatment. (Increasingly, prisoners with mental health problems are refused parole, and simply serve out their time in prison.) Parolees may be surprised to learn how much control their parole officers exercise over their lives, and, depending upon the state, the extent of the parole officer’s powers to search the parolee or his residence upon suspicion that the parolee has engaged in illegal activities. Parolees often cannot move or change jobs without permission.

If I Am On Parole, Can I Leave The State?

Parolees are typically not permitted to leave the state without permission from their parole officers. Permission may be granted for short trips out of state, for example to attend funerals, or for longer trips, such as to assist a sick relative. However, some parolees are surprised to learn that, due to the nature of their offenses or a perceived risk of flight, their parole officers refuse to allow them to leave the state. If a parolee wishes to move to another state, and is granted permission to do so, his parole will typically continue, and will typically be transferred to the Department of Corrections in his new home state.

What Happens If A Person “Violates” His Parole?

If a parolee is accused of violating his parole, he is typically given the opportunity to challenge the accusation at an administrative hearing before the parole board. There will typically be two hearings, the first to determine if the parolee should be held in custody pending the full hearing, and the second to determine if the parolee violated the terms of his parole. Parolees who fail to report for meetings with their probation officer, who are caught with illegal drugs or concealed weapons, who associate with known criminals, or who are arrested on new criminal charges, are particularly likely to be returned to prison. It should be noted that being arrested can be enough to violate a person’s parole, even if no charges result from that arrest.
Contact Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson for experienced and dependable representation. He can be reached directly around the clock, 7 days/week at (713) 222-7577.

Arrested for Domestic Violence? Finding The Best Houston Criminal Lawyer Is Imperative

An arrest for Houston Assault Family Violence (or Domestic Violence) can be a devastating experience to anyone. Whether the incident was a harmless situation that spun out of control, a gross misunderstanding, or a typical way of communicating between two people. The time after the arrest can be terrifying, as the criminal justice system is very complicated. Houston Assault Family Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson can make sure that your legal rights are protected. Attorney Johnson can determine whether police followed the proper legal procedures when arresting you and, when feasible, prove that the charges are unwarranted.

Being charged with any form of domestic violence is a very serious matter. Not only may you face jail time or probation, many domestic violence cases involve restraining orders, meaning you may have to leave your house and your family immediately – even if you own the house or pay the rent. In addition, a conviction or probated sentence that includes a finding of family violence will affect your right to possess any firearms or to obtain a hunting license.

You are entitled to the best legal defense possible. Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson can deliver that defense for you. You can contact Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson day or night, 24 hours/day 7 days/week and speak with him directly at (713) 222-7577. His Law Office is headquartered in Houston, with offices conveniently located in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

Definitions of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation, and threats of violence.  The relationships that most state domestic violence laws define as necessary for a charge of domestic assault or abuse include spouse or former spouse, persons who currently live together or who have lived together within the previous year, or persons who share a common child.

Definitions of criminal violence include physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

Violence by a man against his wife or intimate partner is often a way for a man to control “his woman.”  Although domestic violence can occur between gay and lesbian couples, and by women against their male partners, by far the most common form is male violence against women.

Types of violence include:

  • Common couple violence (CCV) which is not connected to general control behavior, but arises in a single argument where one or both partners physically lash out at the other.
  • Intimate terrorism (IT) which can also involve emotional and psychological abuse. It is one element in a general pattern of control by one partner over the other. It is more common than common couple violence, more likely to escalate over time, not as likely to be mutual, and more likely to involve serious injury.
  • Violent resistance (VR), which is sometimes interpreted as “self-defense,” is usually violence perpetrated by women against their abusive partners.
  • Mutual violent control (MVC) which is a rare type of intimate partner violence that occurs when both partners use violence to battle for control.
  • Situational couple violencewhich arises out of conflicts that escalate to arguments and then to violence. It is not connected to a general pattern of control. Although it occurs less frequently in relationships, and is less serious than intimate terrorism, it can be frequent and quite serious, even life-threatening.

Although domestic violence is sometimes explained as the result of the abuser losing control, many batterers do exhibit control over the nature and extent of their physical violence.   They may direct their assaults to parts of their partners’ bodies that are covered by clothing so that any injuries will not be seen by others. Conversely, some batterers purposefully target their partners’ faces to compel isolation or to disfigure them so that “no one else will want them.” Batterers can often describe their personal limits for physical abuse.  They may explain that while they have slapped their partners with an open hand, they would never punch them with their fists. Others admit to hitting and punching but report that they would never use a weapon.

Domestic violence often gets worse over time.  One explanation for this is that increasing the intensity of the abuse is an effective way for batterers to maintain control over their partners and prevent them from leaving. The violence may also escalate because most batterers experience few, if any, negative consequences for their abusive behavior. Social tolerance of domestic violence thus not only contributes to its existence, but may also influence its progression and batterers’ definitions of the acceptable limits of their abuse.

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in the United States as the statistics below indicate:

  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually.
  • Intimate partner violence made up 20% of all nonfatal violent crimes against women in 2001.
  • In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, intimate partners killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
  • Access to firearms greatly increases the risk of intimate partner violence.  Research suggests that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.
  • Nearly half of all violent crimes committed against family members are crimes against spouses.
  • Research indicates that 84% of spouse abuse victims are females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at are female.
  • Wives are more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses; wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but made up 81% of all persons killed by their spouses.
  • Slightly more than half of female domestic violence victims live in households with children under age 12.  It is estimated that between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.
  • Fifty-six percent of women who experience any partner violence are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Twenty-nine percent of all women who attempt suicide are battered; 37% of battered women have symptoms of depression, 46% have symptoms of anxiety disorder, and 45% experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

Effects of domestic violence on women and children

Battered women suffer physical and mental effects from domestic violence. Battering causes more injuries to women than auto accidents, rapes, or muggings.  It also threatens their financial wellbeing.  They may miss work to appear in court or because of illnesses or injuries that result from the violence. They may have to move many times to avoid violence. Many battered women forgo financial security during divorce proceedings to avoid further abuse.

Battered women often lose social support.  Their abusers isolate them from family and friends. Women who are being abused may isolate themselves from support persons to avoid the embarrassment that would result from discovery.  Some battered women are abandoned by their churches when they separate from their abusers because some religious doctrines prohibit separation or divorce regardless of the severity of abuse.

When mothers are abused by their partners, the children are also affected.  Children who witness domestic violence may feel confusion, stress, fear, and shame.  They may think that they caused the problem or feel guilty for not protecting their mothers. They may themselves be abused or neglected while the mother attempts to deal with the trauma. Children in homes where domestic violence occurs are at risk for being physically abused or seriously neglected.

One-third of all children who see their mothers beaten develop emotional problems. They may cry excessively, be withdrawn or shy, have difficulty making friends or develop a fear of adults. Other consequences for children include excessive absences from school, depression, suicidal behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, running away, committing criminal acts as juveniles and adults, and using violence to solve problems at school and home.  The stress resulting from living with domestic violence can show up as difficulty in sleeping, bedwetting, over-achieving, behavior problems, withdrawing, stomach aches, headaches and/or diarrhea.

Domestic violence can carry over from one generation to the next.  Boys who witness their fathers abuse their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence as adults. Girls who witness their mothers being abused are more likely to tolerate abuse as adults than who girls did not grow up under these circumstances.

Domestic violence and alcohol and other drugs

There is little evidence for the widely-held belief that abusing alcohol causes domestic violence. Although research indicates that men who drink heavily do commit more assaults that result in serious physical injury, the majority of abusive men are not heavy drinkers and the majority of men who are heavy drinkers do not abuse their partners.  Even for batterers who drink, there is little evidence to suggest that drinking causes abusive behavior.  In 76% of physically abusive incidents, there is no alcohol involved, and there is no evidence to suggest that alcohol use or dependence is linked to the other non-violent behaviors that are part of the pattern of domestic violence. It is true, however, that when cultural norms and expectations about male behavior after drinking include boisterous or aggressive behaviors, individual men are more likely to engage in such behaviors when under the influence of alcohol than when sober.

There is a pervasive belief that alcohol lowers inhibitions and a historical tradition of holding people who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs less accountable than those who commit crimes in a sober state.  Historically, society has not held batterers accountable for their abusive behavior.  They are held even less accountable for battering perpetrated when they are under the influence of alcohol. The alcohol provides a ready and socially acceptable excuse for their violence.

Evolving from the belief that abusing alcohol or other drugs causes domestic violence is the belief that treating the chemical dependency will stop the violence. However, research indicates that when batterers are in treatment, the abuse continues and often escalates during recovery, creating more danger to the victim than existed prior to treatment. In the cases in which battered women report that the level of physical abuse decreases, they often report a corresponding increase in threats, manipulation and isolation.

As noted earlier, domestic violence is often explained as a loss of control by the batterer.  However, even when alcohol or other drugs are involved, the experiences of battered women contradict this view. Battered women report that even when their partners appear uncontrollably drunk during a physical assault, they routinely exhibit the ability to sober up remarkably quickly if there is an outside interruption, such as police intervention.

  • Of the
    32.1 million nonfatal violent crimes that took place between 1998 and 2002, 30% of victims said the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • An additional 29.2% indicated the offender was sober at the time, and 40.8% said they did not know.
  • A larger percentage of family violence victims (38.5%) reported the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the incident than did nonfamily violence victims (28.9%).
  • Offenders who abused their boyfriend or girlfriend were more likely than other types of nonfamily violence offenders to be drinking or using drugs. Four out of 10 (41.4%) offenders involved in violence with a boyfriend or girlfriend were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, compared to 26.3% of offend-ers involved in violence against a friend or acquaintance and 29.3% of stranger violence.
  • Excluding the 19.5% of family violence victims who did not know whether the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, approximately 2.8 million victims of family violence were able to indicate whether the offender was or was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In nearly half the incidents, family violence victims reported the offender had been using drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense.

Interventions with substance-abusing batterers

If batterers use alcohol or other drugs, these problems should be addressed separately and concurrently. This is critical not only to maximize the victim’s safety, but also to prevent the battering from precipitating relapse or otherwise interfering with the recovery process. True recovery requires much more than abstinence. It includes adopting a lifestyle that enhances emotional and spiritual health, a goal that cannot be achieved if the battering continues.

Self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous promote and support emotional and spiritual health and have helped many alcoholics get sober. These programs, however, were not designed to address battering and are not sufficient, by themselves, to motivate batterers to stop their abuse. It is critical that any treatment plan for chemically dependent men who batter include attendance at programs designed specifically to address the attitudes and beliefs that encourage their abusive behavior.

When abusive men enter substance abuse treatment programs, their partners are often directed into self-help programs such as Al-Anon or co-dependency groups. However, these resources were not designed to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence and often inadvertently cause harm to battered women.  The goals of these groups typically include helping alcoholics’ family members to focus on their own needs, practice emotional detachment from the substance abusers, and identify and stop protecting their partners from the harmful consequences of addiction. Group members are encouraged to define their personal boundaries, set limits on their partners’ behaviors, and stop protecting their partners from the harmful consequences of addiction. While these strategies and goals may be very useful for women whose partners are not abusive, for battered women such changes will likely result in an escalation of abuse, including physical violence.

Battered women are often very sensitive to their partners’ moods as a way to assess their level of danger. They focus on their partners’ needs and cover up for them as part of their survival strategy.  These behaviors are not dysfunctional but are life-saving skills that protect them and their children from further harm. When battered women are encouraged to stop these behaviors through self-focusing and detachment, they are being asked to stop doing the things that may be keeping them and their children most safe.

Myths Regarding Domestic Violence

“Domestic Violence” can be defined in legal and clinical terms. For clinical purposes, domestic violence is “assaultive behavior.” Domestic violence generally represents a pattern of behavior rather then a single isolated event. The pattern of behavior can take on many different forms, all of them involving physical violence or threats of physical violence. The violence may be accomplished through the use of hand, feet, weapons, or other objects.

The National Institute of Justice estimates that a woman is battered every 18 seconds in the United States. Some studies have suggested that between 35 and 50 percent of the nation’s couples have experienced at least one violent incident in their relationship.

Historically, the problem of violence in the home has been surrounded by a number of myths and misconceptions, which has perpetuated spouse abuse in society and has hampered the effective response of law enforcement.

Some of the most common myths and misconceptions are briefly addressed below.

Domestic Violence is a Private “Family Matter”

Some feel that violence between people in intimate relationships is somehow “different” than violence between strangers. The privacy of the marital relationship and the family unit has been elevated above the prohibitions against violence contained in existing laws. Nevertheless, a spouse has no right under existing laws to physically abuse their spouse in any manner.

Domestic Violence is Usually Provoked by the Victim

This myth stems from a belief that men have the right to discipline their spouses for behavior that the man does not approve of. Most studies agree that mutual combat or provocation is not the cause of domestic violence. Indeed, verbal “provocation,” no matter how severe, should never be a justification for violence. The failure of a batterer to take responsibility for his violent behavior and the victim’s tendency for self-blame should not lead society to the same erroneous conclusions. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it is women who are being routinely and severely victimized by men. To be sure, abused men do exist and must be protected, but the incidents of husband and boyfriend battering are rare.

Battered Women are Masochistic

Some believe that if battered women were really abused, they would leave. Others believe that if victims of abuse wished to end the abuse, they could simply seek outside help and leave the relationship. These views reflect an ignorance regarding the dynamics of abusive relationships. Battered women have often been in the relationships for a significant period of time and have strong mental and emotional ties. Often children are involved and the battered spouse must resolve how to provide for her children if she were to leave the abusive relationship and take her children with her. Battered women face enormous pressures to remain in an abusive relationship, including economic dependency, lack of support from relatives and friends, and threats of increased violence if any action is taken against their abuse. For a victim, low self-esteem further compounds the problem of removing herself from an abusive relationship.

Batterers are Always Drug or Alcohol Abusers

Many believe that men who batter women are predominantly working class substance abusers. Experts, however, have determined that domestic violence spans every socioeconomic group and is not caused by substance abuse. Recent studies suggest that alcohol and drugs may increase the level of violence but do not precipitate the violence. The decision to use violence is often made before the batterer ingests the substance, which he will ultimately blame for his violence outburst. The drugs or alcohol, thereafter, becomes a convenient excuse for engaging in deviant behavior.

Understanding the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Relationships, which involve any level of physical violence generally, evidence a recurring cycle of behavior. The “cycle of violence” in a violent relationship consists of three stages:

(1) the tension building phase

(2) the acute battering episode and

(3) the aftermath: loving respite.

Tension Building Phase

The first phase is a tension-building stage. The woman senses the man becoming edgy and more prone to react negatively to any trivial frustration. Many women learn to recognize incipient violence and try to control it by becoming nurturing and compliant or by staying out of the way.

A woman often views the building rage in her partner as being directed toward her and internalizes the job of keeping the situation from exploding. If she does her job well, he will become calm; if she fails, it is her fault. A woman who has been battered over time knows that the tension building stage will aggravate, but denies this knowledge to help herself cope with her partner’s behavior. As the tension builds, he becomes more fearful that she will leave him; she may reinforce this fear by withdrawing from him to avoid inadvertently setting off the impending violence.

Acute Battering Episode

The second phase in the pattern of violence is the explosion. Many men report that they do not start out wanting to hurt the woman but want only to teach her a lesson. This is the stage where police, the victim, or the batterer may be killed. The violence may involve pushing, shoving, shaking, or pulling hair. It may involve hitting with an open hand or a closed fist.

The violence may be over in a moment or last for minutes or hours. There may be visible injuries, but often an experienced batterer will leave no marks. The violence attack rarely takes a single consistent form. Most women are extremely grateful when the battering ends. They consider themselves lucky that it was not worse, no matter how bad their injuries are. They often deny the seriousness of their injuries and refuse to seek immediate medical attention.

Aftermath: Loving Respite

The third phase is a period of calm, loving, contrite behavior. The man is genuinely sorry for what he has done. His worst fear is that his partner will leave him so he tries as hard as he can to make up for his brutal behavior. He really believes he can control himself and will never again hurt the woman he loves. The battered woman wants to believe she will no longer have to suffer abuse. His reasonableness and his loving behavior during this period support her wish that he can really change. He lets her know that he would fall apart without her. So, she feels responsible for her own conduct that led to the beating and also responsible for his well being.

Victims will most frequently enter the criminal justice system after an acute battering episode; the “loving respite” phase usually follows immediately. Both parties may be horrified by what has happened. Both feel guilty about the event and both resolve to never let it happen again. The batterer very typically will treat the victim with apparent respect, love, and affection. This is a great relief to the victim and is precisely what the victim has wanted out of their relationship all along.

This “loving respite” phase makes criminal prosecution difficult. As long as the batterer continues to behave affectionately, the victim may become increasingly reluctant to jeopardize such good behavior by cooperating with the prosecution. A victim-witness advocate who understands the dynamics of the battering cycle can effectively intervene by reminding the victim of similar remorseful periods in the past, predicting a return to the tension building phase, and explaining the likelihood of more frequent and severe injuries.

Domestic Violence Penalties

A family violence conviction can lead to numerous life-altering and long-term penalties, including up to one (1) year in jail, fines up to $4000.00, anger management or family violence classes, probation, and a finding of family violence that may affect the custody of your children. If you have a prior family violence conviction, you could be facing up to ten (10) years in prison, as well as a fine up to $10,000.00. The penalties also increase if the violence is aggravated in any way with a weapon or if you cause an injury to a child. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be prohibited from contacting the complainant for an extended period of time, thereby preventing you from spending time with your loved one.

Unlike most criminal offenses in Texas, you can never seal your criminal record if you are convicted of a family violence crime or accepted deferred adjudication with a finding of family violence. To avoid these significant penalties, it is critical that you contact the Charles Johnson Law Firm. He is skilled and experienced in these very sensitive cases.

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil LawsFam. Code §§ 71.004; 71.0021

‘Family violence’ means:

  • An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself
  • Abuse, as that term is defined by § 261.001, by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household

Dating violence

‘Dating violence’ means an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Penal Code § 25.07

A person commits an offense if, in violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence case and related to the safety of the victim or the safety of the community, an order issued under article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure, an order issued under § 6.504, Family Code, chapter 83, Family Code, if the temporary ex parte order has been served on the person, or chapter 85, Family Code, or an order issued by another jurisdiction, the person knowingly or intentionally:

  • Commits family violence or an act in furtherance of an offense under §§ 22.011, 22.021, or 42.072
  • Communicates:
    • Directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner
    • A threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household
    • In any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household except through the person’s attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the violation is of an order described by this subsection, and the order prohibits any communication with a protected individual or a member of the family or household
  • Goes to or near any of the following places as specifically described in the order or condition of bond:
    • The residence or place of employment or business of a protected individual or a member of the family or household
    • Any child care facility, residence, or school where a child protected by the order or condition of bond normally resides or attends
  • Possesses a firearm

‘Family violence,’ ‘family,’ ‘household,’ and ‘member of a household’ have the meanings assigned by chapter 71, Family Code.

Persons Included in the Definitions

Fam. Code §§ 71.0021; 71.003; 71.005; 71.006

‘Dating relationship’ means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:

  • The length of the relationship
  • The nature of the relationship
  • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a ‘dating relationship.’

‘Family’ includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under §§ 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code; individuals who are former spouses of each other; individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage; and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.

‘Household’ means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other. ‘Member of a household’ includes a person who previously lived in a household.

Building a Strong Defense

Many domestic violence or spousal abuse charges occur during the divorce process or in child custody disputes. Unfortunately, in these situations one spouse may try to obtain an advantage over the other by making false or exaggerated accusations.

Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson will work hard to build a strong defense against the domestic violence charges you face. We will carefully listen to you and investigate the events leading up to the charges. What is the context of the domestic abuse accusation? Did the alleged victim start the fight? Is there a custody issue at stake? Understanding the context of the event can help us prepare an effective defense strategy on your behalf. Our goal is to obtain a dismissal of the charges, a negotiated plea agreement that minimizes the penalties you face, or a not guilty verdict after trial.

In the recent past, several factors have caused Domestic Violence to emerge as a distinction within the assault category. If a defendant and the alleged victim are spouses or former spouses, related by blood or marriage, reside or have resided in the same household or have a child or children in common; then any assaults would be categorized as “Domestic”. This distinction requires that certain federal statutes are triggered and the defendant shall no longer be allowed to own or possess a firearm.

Hire the Best Houston Assault Family Violence AttorneyIt is often mistakenly assumed by defendants, as well as victims, that the decision to prosecute lies with the victim. Many presume that if the two have reconciled then they may avoid prosecution by merely allowing the victim to inform the court or prosecuting attorney that they do not wish to prosecute or by simply not appearing in court in violation of the subpoena requiring their appearance. This naive assumption has led to many defendants failing to prepare a defense to the charges that may have otherwise been successfully defended. The prosecutor may insist that the victim testify and proceed without their consent. The victim’s cooperation with the defense is of course valuable in preparing for court and often in avoiding prosecution on a criminal offense. This must be utilized in conjunction with a strategy tailored around the specific facts and circumstances of the offense at hand, as well as parties involved. In order for this to occur it is essential that the defendant obtain legal representation and closely follow the advice of his or her counsel.

Domestic Violence is a serious problem in this country. Certainly, however, anyone can understand that relationships are hard and with added stress from financial problems, work related stress and of course drug or alcohol addiction people may do things for which they are not proud. When charged with such an offense it is essential that an individual begin immediately preparing a defense which may include mitigating measures. These may include a drug and alcohol assessment, counseling, anger management training or even alcoholics or narcotics anonymous meetings. It is for this reason that a consultation with an attorney experienced in defending these matters occurs prior to proceeding to court.

Contact Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson

It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner work can be done to prevent your charges from escalating into a conviction.

Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Charles Johnson knows how frustrating and hopeless things may seem right now, but urges you not to give up hope. There are many viable defense strategies for fighting domestic violence charges, and many things that can be done to ensure your charges don’t spiral out of control. You can depend on Attorney Johnson to thoroughly investigate your charges, and trust that he’ll make it known to the judge if he finds anything that may indicate the accusations were fabricated. The Charles Johnson Law Firm is here for you, and will do whatever can be done to make sure this ordeal results in the best possible outcome!

If you have been accused of domestic violence, don’t try to fight your charges alone.

Contact Houston Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson for experienced and dependable representation. He can be reached directly around the clock, 7 days/week at (713) 222-7577.

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Defense of Felony Charges by Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson: Houston Felony LawyerIn the criminal justice system, serious crimes net serious consequences. Being charged with a felony in Houston can dramatically change your life, from lengthy prison sentences to a lifetime of restricted privileges as a convicted felon. Even the mere allegation of criminal activity can cause not only legal difficulties, but also personal ramifications as the accused is eyed with suspicion by co-workers, friends, and even family members. If you have been charged with a Felony crime and need a Houston Attorney to handle your Felony Case, contact Houston Felony Lawyer Johnson directly anytime night or day at (713) 222-7577. In Felony Defense, experience makes the difference.

Felony Crimes in Houston

Virtually everyone has had some experience on the wrong side of the law, if only for a minor traffic infraction. Still others have been accused of misdemeanor offenses such as petty theft or first offense DUI. The most serious criminal offenses, however, are charged as felonies, and conviction of a felony crime often leads to years, even a lifetime, in prison. Even upon parole or release from prison, a convicted felon is subject to extended probation and the loss of rights, such as possession of a firearm or the ability to work in certain professions. Felony sex offenses can lead to lifetime sex offender registration, which severely restricts housing options, employment possibilities, and even recreational activities. Houston Felony Lawyer Charles Johnson will be instrumental in protecting the rights of those accused of felony acts, ensuring a fair trial, upholding justice, and helping the defendant avoid inflated charges and excessive sentencing.

When finding a defense lawyer to handle your felony case, it is important to look for an attorney with specific experience representing defendants accused of serious felonies. Your lawyer should have the knowledge, skill, and determination to uncover evidence to support your case, to protect against illegal police procedures, and to aggressively pursue every option for your defense.

Houston Felony Lawyer Charles Johnson has experience defending clients charged in criminal matters. He provides legal counsel and defense for those accused of serious felony crimes anywhere in Texas.

With criminal penalties ranging from just over a year to life in prison, fines reaching tens of thousands of dollars, and a criminal record of a felony conviction that can limit your potential for a lifetime, a felony charge should be taken seriously by the defendant and the Houston felony lawyer handling the case. Professional and diligent, Attorney Johnson is committed to providing assertive, quality defense for clients charged with felony acts across Texas.

Houston Felony Defense

Far too often, those accused of felony crimes or investigated for involvement in felony acts do not understand their Constitutional rights. They may hesitate to hire a Houston felony lawyer, feeling that seeking legal counsel makes them appear as if they have something to hide. They may speak freely with police, investigators, and legal authorities, feeling that this cooperation will help “clear things up.” However, speaking to investigators without the counsel of a qualified Houston felony attorney is perhaps the most critical mistake one can make in defending against felony criminal charges.

Miranda rights proclaim that anything you say can and will be used against you. Your words may be misconstrued. False or inaccurate confessions may be wheedled from the accused through manipulative interrogation. Hiring a Houston felony lawyer is not an indication of guilt; it is a right deemed so important that it is upheld in the Constitution. Do not speak with police, do not consent to questioning or a search, do not say anything about your case to anyone until you have had a chance to speak with Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson.

Attorney Johnson will not only offer sound legal advice on how to proceed when confronted with questioning, but will protect you from illegal search and seizure and other improper police procedures. He will pursue every avenue for your defense, making sure that you are allowed every option for a positive outcome to your case.

Contact Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson anytime night or day to discuss your case. You can speak with him directly by calling (713) 222-7577. If in fact you or a loved one think you are suspected or arrested for a Felony Crime, don’t wait to contact a lawyer you can trust. Rest assured that The Charles Johnson Law Firm will zealously defend you against any type of Felony Charge.

This table contains information on offenses in Texas statutory law punishable as felonies. The table includes the statute citation for each offense (“Code” and “Section Number” columns), a brief description of the offense (“Offense” column), and the penalty category of the offense (“Felony Category” column).

Many of the offenses included in the table are punishable in multiple felony categories based on certain circumstances of the offense (e.g., the offense is a subsequent offense or a certain amount of money or controlled substance is involved). If an offense is punishable in multiple categories, each felony category connected to the offense has a separate entry in the table. Although a number of the offenses are also punishable as misdemeanors, the table addresses only punishments categorized as felonies.

Code Section Number Offense Felony Category Punishment (nonstandard)
Agriculture Code 14.072 Operating a public grain warehouse without a license 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.073 Fraud by a public grain warehouse operator 2nd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.074 Unlawful delivery of grain out of a public grain warehouse 2nd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.075 Fraudulently issuing a scale weight ticket or receipt 2nd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.076 Changing a receipt or scale weight ticket after issuance 2nd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.077 Depositing grain without title 2nd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.078 Stealing grain or receiving stolen grain 2nd Degree   
Agriculture Code 14.079 Interfering with sealed grain warehouse or Texas Department of Agriculture inspection or investigation 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 59.046 False or fictitious written statement relating to the procurement of financial assistance or to a property transaction under the farm & ranch finance program 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 59.047 Fraud relating to the farm & ranch finance program 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 63.157 Purchase of ammonium nitrate or ammonium nitrate material with the intent to manufacture an explosive device 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 76.202 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of pesticides & herbicides 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 134.023 Unlawful acquisition of or control over certain cultured species of aquatic animals with intent to deprive the owner 3rd Degree   
Agriculture Code 144.127 Reproduction or destruction of tattoo mark on livestock without the owner’s consent N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than 12 years
Agriculture Code 144.128 Purchase, sale, or transportation of tattooed livestock without the owner’s consent N/A imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than 12 years
Agriculture Code 147.061 Failure to file or maintain bond required of livestock commission merchants N/A  Fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, imprisonment for not less than one nor more than two years, or both
Agriculture Code 147.064 Appropriation of proceeds of sale made by a livestock commission merchant for a purpose other than remittance to the appropriate person or depository N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than four years
Agriculture Code 161.141 Movement of certain livestock, fowl, & other animals in violation of quarantine N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than five years & a fine of not more than $10,000
Alcoholic Beverage Code 54.12 Shipping alcohol without a permit State Jail   
Alcoholic Beverage Code 101.31 Alcoholic beverages in dry areas State Jail   
Alcoholic Beverage Code 103.05 False report by a peace officer regarding the seizure of illicit beverages N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years & not more than five years
Alcoholic Beverage Code 109.532 Unlawful release or disclosure of criminal history information received by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 2nd Degree   
Alcoholic Beverage Code 206.06 Forgery or counterfeiting of an alcoholic beverage stamp, permit, license, signature, certificate, evidence of tax payment, or other instrument N/A Imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 20 years
Business & Commerce Code 15.22 Certain offenses relating to monopolies, trusts, & conspiracies in restraint of trade N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both
Business & Commerce Code 16.31 Certain offenses relating to the filing of trademark documents (effective until September 1, 2012) State Jail   
Business & Commerce Code 17.461 Pyramid promotional scheme State Jail   
Business & Commerce Code 251.004 Warehouseman issuing warehouse receipt without control of goods N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both
Business & Commerce Code 251.005  Warehouseman issuing duplicate or additional warehouse receipt N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both
Business & Commerce Code 252.004 Agent issuing fraudulent bill of lading N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or less than two years
Business & Commerce Code 252.005 Agent issuing order bill of lading in duplicate or set of parts N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than five years & a fine not to exceed $5,000
Business & Commerce Code 252.006 Fraudulently inducing issuance of bill of lading N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or less than two years
Business & Commerce Code 252.007 Fraudulently negotiating or transferring bill of lading N/A Imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years
Business & Commerce Code 504.002 Using crime victim or motor vehicle accident information for solicitation or sale 3rd Degree   
Business & Commerce Code 522.002 Certain offenses relating to the theft of protected health information by electronic device (effective on September 1, 2012) State Jail  
Business & Commerce Code 621.251 Certain offenses relating to contests & gift giveaways 3rd Degree   
Business & Commerce Code 641.053 Unauthorized operation of recording device in motion picture theater 3rd Degree   
Business & Commerce Code 641.053 Unauthorized operation of recording device in motion picture theater State Jail   
Business Organizations Code 4.008 Filing a false instrument State Jail   
Code of Criminal Procedure 62.102 Failure to comply with registration requirements of the sex offender registration program 2nd Degree   
Code of Criminal Procedure 62.102 Failure to comply with registration requirements of the sex offender registration program 3rd Degree   
Code of Criminal Procedure 62.102 Failure to comply with registration requirements of the sex offender registration program State Jail   
Code of Criminal Procedure 62.203 Failure of individuals subject to civil commitment to comply with requirements of the sex offender registration program 2nd Degree   
Education Code 37.125 Exhibition of firearms on school property or on a school bus 3rd Degree   
Education Code 37.152 Personal hazing offense that causes death of another State Jail   
Education Code 44.051 Interference with operation of foundation school program by tampering with a governmental record 2nd Degree  
Education Code 44.051 Interference with operation of foundation school program by tampering with a governmental record 3rd Degree   
Education Code 1001.56 Unauthorized transfer or possession of certain driver education certificates N/A Imprisonment for a term not to exceed five years
Election Code 2.054 Coercion against candidacy 3rd Degree   
Election Code 13.006 Purportedly acting as agent for a voter registration applicant 3rd Degree   
Election Code 13.145 Unlawful delivery of voter registration certificate by voter registrar 3rd Degree   
Election Code 61.006 Unlawfully divulging vote 3rd Degree   
Election Code 64.012 Illegal voting 2nd Degree  
Election Code 64.012 Attempting to vote illegally State Jail  
Election Code 84.0041 Providing false information on application for early voting ballot State Jail   
Election Code 86.0051 Carrier envelope action by person other than voter State Jail   
Election Code 86.006 Offense relating to the method of returning a marked ballot 2nd Degree   
Election Code 86.006 Offense relating to the method of returning a marked ballot 3rd Degree   
Election Code 86.006 Offense relating to the method of returning a marked ballot State Jail   
Election Code 86.010 Failure to meet requirements relating to assisting a voter State Jail   
Election Code 253.003 Unlawfully making or accepting contribution 3rd Degree   
Election Code 253.094 Unlawful contributions by a corporation or labor organization 3rd Degree   
Election Code 253.101 Unlawful contribution or expenditure by a political committee 3rd Degree   
Election Code 253.102 Coercion by certain entities to influence an election or assist an officeholder 3rd Degree   
Election Code 253.103 Offense relating to corporate loans to candidate, officeholder, or political committee 3rd Degree   
Election Code 253.104 Violation of restriction on contribution to political party during a period beginning 60 days before a general election for state & county officers & continuing through election day 3rd Degree   
Election Code 257.004 Violation of restrictions on contributions during a period beginning 60 days before a general election for state & county officers & continuing through election day 3rd Degree   
Election Code 276.001 Retaliation against voter 3rd Degree   
Election Code 276.003 Unlawful removal of voted ballots from ballot box 3rd Degree   
Election Code 276.010 Unlawful buying & selling of balloting materials State Jail   
Family Code 2.102 Offense relating to parental consent for marriage of underage applicant 3rd Degree   
Family Code 2.202 Conducting certain marriage ceremonies 3rd Degree   
Family Code 160.512 Falsifying genetic evidence in a proceeding to adjudicate parentage 3rd Degree  
Family Code 162.421 Certain offenses relating to disclosing & securing information with regard to a voluntary adoption registry 2nd Degree   
Family Code 162.421 Making a false statement relating to the operation of a voluntary adoption registry 3rd Degree  
Family Code 261.107 False report of child abuse or neglect 3rd Degree   
Family Code 261.107 False report of child abuse or neglect State Jail   
Family Code 261.109 Failure to report child abuse or neglect of certain children State Jail   
Family Code 262.102 Failure to meet requirements relating to removal of alleged perpetrator of child abuse 3rd Degree   
Finance Code 33.108 Concealment, removal, destruction, or falsification of certain bank records & other offenses by a member of the board or by an officer, employee, or shareholder of a state bank 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 33.109 Bank officer or director participation in or approval of certain prohibited state bank transactions with management & affiliates 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 59.002 Slander or libel of a bank State Jail  
Finance Code 122.251 Defamation relating to the financial condition of a credit union 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 122.254 Concealment, removal, destruction, or falsification of credit union records, reports, statements, or other documents 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 151.708 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of money services businesses, including falsification of records or applications & engaging in money transmissions or currency exchanges without a license 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 183.108 Certain offenses relating to the concealment, removal, destruction, or falsification of state trust company records 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 183.109 State trust company officer or director participation in or approval of certain prohibited state trust company transactions with management & affiliates 3rd Degree  
Finance Code 199.001 Slander or libel of a state trust company State Jail  
Government Code 302.034 Legislative bribery relating to the election of speaker of the house of representatives N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than five years
Government Code 305.031 Payment or acceptance of fees to influence legislation or administrative action that are contingent on the outcome of the legislation or action 3rd Degree  
Government Code 406.017 Representation as an attorney by a notary public 3rd Degree  
Government Code 411.017 Unauthorized acts involving the Department of Public Safety name, insignia, or division name 3rd Degree  
Government Code 411.085 Unauthorized obtaining, use, or disclosure of criminal history record information maintained by the Department of Public Safety 2nd Degree  
Government Code 411.153 Disclosing to an unauthorized recipient certain confidential information relating to the Department of Public Safety’s DNA database system State Jail  
Government Code 414.009 Misuse of information by a Texas Crime Stoppers Council member or employee or a person who accepts a report of criminal activity on behalf of a crime stoppers organization 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.303 Sale of a state lottery ticket by an unauthorized person 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.305 Offenses relating to group purchase arrangements of state lottery tickets 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.306 Altering or forging a state lottery ticket when the prize is greater than $10,000 2nd Degree  
Government Code 466.306 Altering or forging a state lottery ticket 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.307 Influencing or attempting to influence the selection of the winner of a state lottery game when the prize is greater than $10,000 2nd Degree  
Government Code 466.307 Influencing or attempting to influence the selection of the winner of a state lottery game 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.308 Claiming a state lottery prize by fraud when the amount claimed is greater than $10,000 2nd Degree  
Government Code 466.308 Claiming a state lottery prize by fraud when the amount claimed is greater than $200 but not more than $10,000 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.308 Claiming a state lottery prize by fraud when the claimant has previously been convicted of certain lottery offenses 2nd Degree  
Government Code 466.308 Claiming a state lottery prize by fraud when the claimant has previously been convicted of certain lottery offenses 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.309 Tampering with state lottery equipment 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.310 Certain transfers of state lottery claims when the prize involved is greater than $10,000 2nd Degree  
Government Code 466.310 Certain transfers of state lottery claims 3rd Degree  
Government Code 466.313 Conspiracy with intent that a state lottery offense be committed Other  
Government Code 557.001 Sedition relating to the overthrow, destruction, or alteration of state government or a political subdivision by force or violence N/A Fine not to exceed $20,000, imprisonment for not less than one year or more than 20 years, or both
Government Code 557.011 Sabotage of any property or facility used or to be used for national defense N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years or more than 20 years
Government Code 618.009 Fraudulent placement of a facsimile signature or seal by a public officer or employee N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years or more than seven years
Government Code 811.102 Defrauding the state employees retirement system N/A Imprisonment for not less than one year or more than five years
Government Code 821.102 Defrauding the teacher retirement system N/A Imprisonment for not less than one year or more than five years
Government Code 2161.23 Applying as a historically underutilized business for an award of a state purchasing or public works contract when applicant is not a historically underutilized business 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 81.085 Failure to obey a rule, order, or instruction as it relates to an area quarantine 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 81.089 Offenses relating to the transport of a communicable disease into the state 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 108.014 Certain offenses relating to access or release of data kept by the Texas Health Care Information Council State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 161.459 Certain offenses relating to delivery sales of cigarettes 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 167.001 Female genital mutilation State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 195.003 Falsification of records relating to vital statistics reporting 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 242.045 Disclosure of unannounced inspections relating to convalescent & nursing homes & related institutions 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 311.022 Discrimination in the denial of emergency services committed by an officer, employee, or medical staff member of a general hospital resulting in death of the person denied 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 365.012 Illegal dumping of certain litter or other solid waste State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 365.016 Disposal of litter, dead animal, sewage, or any chemical in a cave 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 382.214 Sale of vehicle in an accelerated vehicle retirement program with intent to defraud 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 431.059 Certain offenses under the Texas Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 436.038 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of molluscan shellfish under the Texas Aquatic Life Act Parks & Wildlife Code  
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years & a fine not to exceed $100,000
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 15 years & a fine not to exceed $250,000
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 15 years & a fine not to exceed $250,000
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.112 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.113 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 or 2-A N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years & a fine not to exceed $100,000
Health & Safety Code 481.113 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 or 2-A 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.113 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 or 2-A 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.113 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 or 2-A State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.114 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 or 4 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years & a fine not to exceed $100,000
Health & Safety Code 481.114 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 or 4 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.114 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 or 4 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.114 Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 or 4 State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years & a fine not to exceed $100,000
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 15 years & a fine not to exceed $250,000
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.115 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than five years & a fine not to exceed $50,000
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2 State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2-A N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than five years & a fine not to exceed $50,000
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2-A 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2-A 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.116 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2-A State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.117 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than five years & a fine not to exceed $50,000
Health & Safety Code 481.117 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.117 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.118 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 4 N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than five years & a fine not to exceed $50,000
Health & Safety Code 481.118 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 4 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.118 Possession of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 4 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.120 Delivery of marihuana N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than 10 years & a fine not to exceed $100,000
Health & Safety Code 481.120 Delivery of marihuana 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.120 Delivery of marihuana 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.120 Delivery of marihuana State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.121 Possession of marihuana N/A Imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than five years & a fine not to exceed $50,000
Health & Safety Code 481.121 Possession of marihuana 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.121 Possession of marihuana 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.121 Possession of marihuana State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.122 Delivery of controlled substance in certain penalty groups or marihuana to child 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.124 Possession or transport of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture controlled substance 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.124 Possession or transport of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture controlled substance 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.124 Possession or transport of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture controlled substance State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.125 Possession or transport of anhydrous ammonia; use of or tampering with associated equipment 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.125 Possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.126 Illegal barter of property, expenditure, or investment of funds derived from the commission of certain offenses under the Texas Controlled Substances Act 1st Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.126 Illegal barter of property, expenditure, or investment of funds derived from the commission of certain offenses under the Texas Controlled Substances Act 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.127 Unauthorized disclosure of information submitted under the official prescription program State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.128 Certain offenses under the Texas Controlled Substances Act committed by a registrant or a dispenser of a controlled substance State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.129 Diversion of controlled substance by registrants, dispensers, & certain other persons 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.129 Diversion of controlled substance by registrants, dispensers, & certain other persons State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.129 Fraud as it relates to the Texas Controlled Substances Act 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.129 Fraud as it relates to the Texas Controlled Substances Act 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.129 Fraud as it relates to the Texas Controlled Substances Act State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.131 Diversion of controlled substance property or plant State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.134 Certain offenses committed in a drug-free zone Other  
Health & Safety Code 481.136 Unlawful transfer or receipt of chemical precursor 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.136 Unlawful transfer or receipt of chemical precursor State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.137 Transfer of precursor substance for unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.138 Unlawful transfer or receipt of chemical laboratory apparatus 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.138 Unlawful transfer or receipt of chemical laboratory apparatus State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 481.139 Transfer of chemical laboratory apparatus for unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 481.140 Use of child in commission of certain offenses under the Texas Controlled Substances Act Other  
Health & Safety Code 481.141 Manufacture or delivery of controlled substance causing death or serious bodily injury Other  
Health & Safety Code 482.002 Unlawful delivery or manufacture with intent to deliver a simulated controlled substance State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 483.042 Unauthorized delivery or offer of delivery of dangerous drug State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 483.043 Unauthorized manufacture of dangerous drug State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 485.032 Delivery of an abusable volatile chemical to a minor State Jail  
Health & Safety Code 508.004 Failure to obey a rule, order, or instruction relating to an area quarantine for an environmental or toxic agent 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 535.014 Certain offenses relating to fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain certain support services administered by the Health & Human Services Commission (See Chapter 198 (H.B. 2292), Acts of the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, for further in 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 781.403 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of personal emergency response systems 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 822.005 Attack by dog causing death 2nd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 822.005 Attack by dog causing serious bodily injury 3rd Degree  
Health & Safety Code 841.085 Certain offenses relating to a civil commitment requirement by a sexually violent predator 3rd Degree  
Human Resources Code 12.002 Unlawful use of Texas Department of Aging & Disability Services or Texas Department of Family & Protective Services funds (See Chapter 198 (H.B. 2292), Acts of the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, for further information regarding health & h N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or more than seven years
Human Resources Code 32.0391 Certain offenses relating to the medical assistance program State Jail  
Human Resources Code 33.011 Certain offenses relating to food stamp benefit permits or authorizations 3rd Degree  
Human Resources Code 35.012 Certain offenses relating to fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain support services for persons with disabilities 3rd Degree  
Human Resources Code 42.0447 False report alleging noncompliance with state standards by certain facilities or homes that provide child-care services State Jail  
Human Resources Code 48.052 Failure to report the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of certain elderly or disabled persons in certain living centers, institutions, or facilities State Jail  
Insurance Code 101.106 Unauthorized practice in the business of insurance 3rd Degree  
Insurance Code 544.401 Certain discriminatory practices in the business of insurance State Jail  
Insurance Code 823.501 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of insurance holding company systems N/A Imprisonment for a term not to exceed five years, fine not to exceed $10,000 per violation, or both
Insurance Code 823.502 False statement on a written instrument required to be filed with the insurance commissioner N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, fine not to exceed $10,000 per violation, or both
Insurance Code 846.107 The receipt of money or a thing of value by a board member, officer, or employee of a multiple employer welfare arrangement for negotiating, procuring, recommending, or aiding in certain transactions 3rd Degree  
Insurance Code 883.703 False statement or misappropriation relating to certain mutual insurance companies N/A Imprisonment for not less than five years or more than 10 years
Insurance Code 4005.15 Acting as insurance agent after license suspension or revocation N/A Fine not to exceed $5,000, imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or both
Insurance Code  (Not Codified) 21.47 False statement in certain written insurance instruments 3rd Degree  
Labor Code 61.019 Failure by an employer to pay wages owed to an employee 3rd Degree  
Labor Code 418.001 Fraudulently obtaining or denying workers’ compensation benefits State Jail  
Labor Code 418.002 Fraudulently obtaining workers’ compensation insurance coverage State Jail  
Local Government Code 232.036 Certain offenses relating to subdivision platting requirements in a county near an international border State Jail  
Local Government Code 352.022 Failure by an owner or occupant to comply with an order relating to a fire or life safety hazards inspection or review State Jail  
Local Government Code 392.042 Certain offenses relating to interested commissioners of a housing authority 3rd Degree  
Local Government Code 392.043 Certain offenses relating to interested employees of a housing authority 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 40.251 Fraudulent claim or report of information relating to unauthorized discharge of oil 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 85.389 Unlawful conduct for the purpose of controlling or limiting operation of a gas or oil well or associated equipment 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 88.0531 Violation of provisions relating to accurate measurement of oil or gas 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 88.134 Violation of certain provisions relating to control of oil property N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years nor more than four years
Natural Resources Code 91.143 False applications, reports, & documents & tampering with gauges relating to certain oil & gas wells N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or more than five years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both
Natural Resources Code 113.250 False information in report relating to alternative fuels research & education 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 114.102 Certain offenses relating to cargo manifest documents for oil tanker vehicles 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.052 Unauthorized harvesting of standing timber 1st Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.052 Unauthorized harvesting of standing timber 2nd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.052 Unauthorized harvesting of standing timber 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.052 Unauthorized harvesting of standing timber State Jail  
Natural Resources Code 151.105 Unlawful use of trust money by a timber purchaser who is a trustee of trust money 1st Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.105 Unlawful use of trust money by a timber purchaser who is a trustee of trust money 2nd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.105 Unlawful use of trust money by a timber purchaser who is a trustee of trust money 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 151.105 Unlawful use of trust money by a timber purchaser who is a trustee of trust money State Jail  
Natural Resources Code 161.401 Offenses relating to false instruments in writing in connection with certain transactions involving the Veterans Land Board N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years nor more than 10 years, a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, or both
Natural Resources Code 161.402 Offenses relating to false instruments in writing in connection with certain purchases, sales, & resales of land involving the Veterans Land Board N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years nor more than 10 years, a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, or both
Natural Resources Code 161.403 Defrauding a veteran or the state N/A Imprisonment for a term of not less than two years nor more than 10 years, a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, or both
Natural Resources Code 201.014 Unauthorized altering or defacing of a state-owned cave State Jail  
Natural Resources Code 201.041 Vandalism of cave 3rd Degree  
Natural Resources Code 201.041 Vandalism of cave State Jail  
Natural Resources Code 201.042 Unauthorized sale of speleothems State Jail  
Occupations Code 102.001 Solicitation of patients for or from a state-licensed, certified, or registered health care professional 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 102.006 Failure to disclose certain information regarding a solicitation to solicited patient 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 165.152 Practicing medicine in violation of provisions relating to the regulation of physicians 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 165.153 Practicing medicine without a license or permit & causing physical or psychological harm to a person 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 165.153 Practicing medicine without a license or permit & causing financial harm to a person State Jail  
Occupations Code 165.154 Performing surgery while intoxicated State Jail  
Occupations Code 201.605 Practicing chiropractic without a license 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 201.606 Providing chiropractic treatment or services while intoxicated State Jail  
Occupations Code 204.352 Acting as or holding one’s self out to be a physician assistant without a license 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 205.401 Practicing acupuncture without a license 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 264.151 Certain offenses related to the practice of dentistry, dental surgery, & dental hygiene without a license 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 266.303 Offenses relating to certain dental laboratory services 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 301.554 Certain offenses relating to the unauthorized acquisition of a nursing license & to practicing without a nursing license 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 455.352 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of massage therapy State Jail  
Occupations Code 901.602 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of accountants 2nd Degree  
Occupations Code 901.602 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of accountants 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 901.602 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of accountants State Jail  
Occupations Code 1701.55 Appointment, employment, or retention of certain law enforcement officers with certain convictions State Jail  
Occupations Code 1702.38 Falsification of certain documents in an application for a private security license 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 1702.39 Unauthorized contract with or employment by bail bond surety State Jail  
Occupations Code 1702.39 Certain offenses relating to execution of capias or arrest warrant State Jail  
Occupations Code 1702.39 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of private security 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 1956.040 Selling stolen regulated metal material State jail  
Occupations Code 1956.040 Selling stolen regulated metal material 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 1956.040 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of metal recycling entities State Jail  
Occupations Code 2001.55 Unlawful conduct or promotion of bingo 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 2001.55 Fraudulent award of bingo prizes 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 2051.5 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of athlete agents 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 2153.36 Obtaining a license for a coin-operated machine by fraud 2nd Degree  
Occupations Code 2153.36 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of a coin-operated machine 3rd Degree  
Occupations Code 2302.35 Certain offenses relating to the regulation of salvage vehicle dealers State Jail  
Parks & Wildlife Code 31.127 Failure of a watercraft operator to render aid & provide identification information following certain collisions or accidents Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 43.111 Violation of provisions or regulations relating to permits to manage wildlife & exotic animals from aircraft Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 61.022 Taking wildlife resources without consent of landowner Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 61.022 Taking wildlife resources without consent of landowner Parks & Wildlife Code State Jail  
Parks & Wildlife Code 62.013 Certain hunting offenses Parks & Wildlife Code State Jail  
Parks & Wildlife Code 62.107 Violation of provisions relating to unlawful controlled killing of or attempting to injure dangerous wild animals Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 63.104 Illegal possession, transportation, receipt, or release of a live wolf Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 66.012 Taking of fish by electric shock Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 66.012 Unauthorized introduction of fish, shellfish, & aquatic plants Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 76.040 Theft of oysters from private bed or interference with buoys or markers Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 76.118 Certain oyster license offenses Parks & Wildlife Code  
Parks & Wildlife Code 76.118 Taking oysters from restricted areas Parks & Wildlife Code State Jail  
Parks & Wildlife Code 66.023 Fraud in fishing tournament 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 12.42 Penalties for repeat & habitual felony offenders on trial for first, second, or 3rd Degree felony Other  
Penal Code 12.425 Penalties for repeat & habitual felony offenders on trial for state jail felony Other  
Penal Code 12.43 Penalties for repeat & habitual misdemeanor offenders Other  
Penal Code 12.44 Reduction of state jail felony punishment to misdemeanor punishment Other  
Penal Code 12.47 Penalty if offense committed because of bias or prejudice Other  
Penal Code 12.48 Certain offenses resulting in loss to nursing & convalescent homes Other  
Penal Code 12.49 Penalty if controlled substance used to commit offense Other  
Penal Code 12.50 Penalty if offense committed in disaster area or evacuated area Other  
Penal Code 12.51 Authorized punishments for corporations & associations Other  
Penal Code 15.01 Criminal attempt Other  
Penal Code 15.02 Criminal conspiracy Other  
Penal Code 15.03 Criminal solicitation Other  
Penal Code 15.031 Criminal solicitation of a minor Other  
Penal Code 16.01 Unlawful use of criminal instrument or mechanical security device Other  
Penal Code 16.01 Unlawful use of criminal instrument or mechanical security device State Jail  
Penal Code 16.02 Unlawful interception, use, or disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 16.02 Unlawful interception, use, or disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications State Jail   
Penal Code 16.03 Unlawful use of pen register or trap & trace device State Jail   
Penal Code 16.04 Unlawful access to stored communications State Jail   
Penal Code 16.05 Illegal divulgence of public communications State Jail   
Penal Code 19.02 Murder 1st Degree   
Penal Code 19.02 Murder 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 19.03 Capital murder Capital   
Penal Code 19.04 Manslaughter 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 19.05 Criminally negligent homicide State Jail   
Penal Code 20.02 Unlawful restraint 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 20.02 Unlawful restraint State Jail   
Penal Code 20.03 Kidnapping 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 20.04 Aggravated kidnapping 1st Degree   
Penal Code 20.04 Aggravated kidnapping 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 20.05 Smuggling of persons 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 20.05 Smuggling of persons State Jail   
Penal Code 20A.02 Trafficking of persons 1st Degree   
Penal Code 20A.02 Trafficking of persons 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 20A.03 Continuous trafficking of persons 1st Degree Imprisonment for life or for not more than 99 years or less than 25 years
Penal Code 21.02 Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children 1st Degree Imprisonment for life or for not more than 99 years or less than 25 years
Penal Code 21.11 Indecency with a child 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 21.11 Indecency with a child 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 21.12 Improper relationship between educator & student 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 21.15 Improper photography or visual recording State Jail   
Penal Code 22.01 Assault 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 22.01 Assault 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 22.011 Sexual assault 1st Degree   
Penal Code 22.011 Sexual assault 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 22.02 Aggravated assault 1st Degree   
Penal Code 22.02 Aggravated assault 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 22.021 Aggravated sexual assault 1st Degree   
Penal Code 22.04 Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual 1st Degree   
Penal Code 22.04 Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 22.04 Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 22.04 Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual State Jail   
Penal Code 22.041 Abandoning or endangering child 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 22.041 Abandoning or endangering child 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 22.041 Abandoning or endangering child State Jail   
Penal Code 22.05 Deadly conduct 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 22.07 Terroristic threat 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 22.07 Terroristic threat State Jail   
Penal Code 22.08 Aiding suicide State Jail   
Penal Code 22.09 Tampering with consumer product 1st Degree   
Penal Code 22.09 Tampering with consumer product 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 22.09 Tampering with consumer product 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 22.11 Harassment by persons in certain correctional facilities & harassment of a public servant 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.01 Bigamy 1st Degree   
Penal Code 25.01 Bigamy 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 25.01 Bigamy 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.02 Prohibited sexual conduct 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 25.02 Prohibited sexual conduct 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.03 Interference with child custody State Jail   
Penal Code 25.031 Agreement to abduct from custody for remuneration State Jail   
Penal Code 25.04 Enticing a child 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.05 Criminal nonsupport State Jail   
Penal Code 25.07 Violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence case 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.071 Violation of protective order preventing offense caused by bias or prejudice 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.08 Sale or purchase of child 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 25.08 Sale or purchase of child 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.09 Advertising for placement of child 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 25.10 Interference with rights of guardian of the person State Jail   
Penal Code 25.11 Continuous violence against the family 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 28.02 Arson 1st Degree   
Penal Code 28.02 Arson 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 28.02 Arson 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 28.02 Arson State Jail   
Penal Code 28.03 Criminal mischief 1st Degree   
Penal Code 28.03 Criminal mischief 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 28.03 Criminal mischief 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 28.03 Criminal mischief State Jail   
Penal Code 28.07 Interference with railroad property 1st Degree   
Penal Code 28.07 Interference with railroad property 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 28.07 Interference with railroad property 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 28.07 Interference with railroad property State Jail   
Penal Code 28.08 Graffiti 1st Degree   
Penal Code 28.08 Graffiti 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 28.08 Graffiti 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 28.08 Graffiti State Jail   
Penal Code 29.02 Robbery 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 29.03 Aggravated robbery 1st Degree   
Penal Code 30.02 Burglary 1st Degree   
Penal Code 30.02 Burglary 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 30.02 Burglary State Jail   
Penal Code 30.04 Burglary of a vehicle State Jail   
Penal Code 31.03 Theft 1st Degree   
Penal Code 31.03 Theft 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 31.03 Theft 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 31.03 Theft State Jail   
Penal Code 31.04 Theft of service 1st Degree   
Penal Code 31.04 Theft of service 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 31.04 Theft of service 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 31.04 Theft of service State Jail   
Penal Code 31.05 Theft of trade secrets 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 31.07 Unauthorized use of a vehicle State Jail   
Penal Code 31.16 Organized retail theft 1st Degree   
Penal Code 31.16 Organized retail theft 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 31.16 Organized retail theft 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 31.16 Organized retail theft State Jail   
Penal Code 32.21 Forgery 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 32.21 Forgery 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.21 Forgery State Jail   
Penal Code 32.23 Trademark counterfeiting 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.23 Trademark counterfeiting 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.23 Trademark counterfeiting 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.23 Trademark counterfeiting State Jail   
Penal Code 32.31 Credit card or debit card abuse 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.31 Credit card or debit card abuse State Jail   
Penal Code 32.32 False statement to obtain property or credit or in the provision of certain services 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.32 False statement to obtain property or credit or in the provision of certain services 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.32 False statement to obtain property or credit or in the provision of certain services 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.32 False statement to obtain property or credit or in the provision of certain services State Jail   
Penal Code 32.33 Hindering secured creditors 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.33 Hindering secured creditors 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.33 Hindering secured creditors 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.33 Hindering secured creditors State Jail   
Penal Code 32.34 Fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.34 Fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle State Jail   
Penal Code 32.35 Credit card transaction record laundering 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.35 Credit card transaction record laundering 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.35 Credit card transaction record laundering 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.35 Credit card transaction record laundering State Jail   
Penal Code 32.43 Commercial bribery State Jail   
Penal Code 32.441 Illegal recruitment of an athlete 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.441 Illegal recruitment of an athlete 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.441 Illegal recruitment of an athlete 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.441 Illegal recruitment of an athlete State Jail   
Penal Code 32.45 Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of financial institution 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.45 Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of financial institution 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.45 Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of financial institution 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.45 Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of financial institution State Jail   
Penal Code 32.46 Securing execution of document by deception 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.46 Securing execution of document by deception 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.46 Securing execution of document by deception 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.46 Securing execution of document by deception State Jail   
Penal Code 32.47 Fraudulent destruction, removal, or concealment of writing State Jail   
Penal Code 32.48 Simulating legal process State Jail   
Penal Code 32.51 Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information 1st Degree   
Penal Code 32.51 Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 32.51 Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 32.51 Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information State Jail   
Penal Code 32.53 Exploitation of child, elderly individual, or disabled individual 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 33.02 Breach of computer security 1st Degree   
Penal Code 33.02 Breach of computer security 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 33.02 Breach of computer security 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 33.02 Breach of computer security State Jail   
Penal Code 33.021 Online solicitation of a minor 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 33.021 Online solicitation of a minor 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 33.05 Tampering with direct recording electronic voting machine 1st Degree   
Penal Code 33.05 Tampering with direct recording electronic voting machine 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 33.07 Unauthorized online impersonation 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 33A.02 Unauthorized use of telecommunications service 1st Degree   
Penal Code 33A.02 Unauthorized use of telecommunications service 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 33A.02 Unauthorized use of telecommunications service 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 33A.02 Unauthorized use of telecommunications service State Jail   
Penal Code 33A.03 Manufacture, possession, or delivery of unlawful telecommunications device 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 33A.04 Theft of telecommunications service 1st Degree   
Penal Code 33A.04 Theft of telecommunications service 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 33A.04 Theft of telecommunications service 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 33A.04 Theft of telecommunications service State Jail   
Penal Code 33A.05 Publication of telecommunications access device 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 34.02 Money laundering 1st Degree   
Penal Code 34.02 Money laundering 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 34.02 Money laundering 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 34.02 Money laundering State Jail   
Penal Code 35.02 Insurance fraud 1st Degree   
Penal Code 35.02 Insurance fraud 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 35.02 Insurance fraud 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 35.02 Insurance fraud State Jail   
Penal Code 35A.02 Medicaid fraud 1st Degree   
Penal Code 35A.02 Medicaid fraud 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 35A.02 Medicaid fraud 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 35A.02 Medicaid fraud State Jail   
Penal Code 36.02 Bribery 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 36.03 Coercion of public servant or voter 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 36.05 Tampering with witness Other  
Penal Code 36.06 Obstruction or retaliation 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 36.06 Obstruction or retaliation 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.03 Aggravated perjury 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.09 Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 37.09 Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.10 Tampering with governmental record 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 37.10 Tampering with governmental record 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.10 Tampering with governmental record State Jail   
Penal Code 37.101 Fraudulent filing of financing statement 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 37.101 Fraudulent filing of financing statement 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.101 Fraudulent filing of financing statement State Jail   
Penal Code 37.11 Impersonating public servant 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.13 Making, presenting, or using a record of a fraudulent court 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 37.14 False statement regarding child custody determination made in foreign country 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 38.03 Resisting arrest, search, or transportation 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.04 Evading arrest or detention 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 38.04 Evading arrest or detention 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.04 Evading arrest or detention State Jail   
Penal Code 38.05 Hindering apprehension or prosecution 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.06 Escape 1st Degree   
Penal Code 38.06 Escape 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 38.06 Escape 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.07 Permitting or facilitating escape 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 38.07 Permitting or facilitating escape 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.09 Implements for escape 2nd Degree   
Penal Code 38.09 Implements for escape 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.10 Bail jumping & failure to appear 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.11 Relating to prohibited substances & items in a correctional facility 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.111 Improper contact with victim 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.113 Unauthorized absence from community corrections facility, county correctional center, or assignment site State Jail   
Penal Code 38.12 Barratry & solicitation of professional employment 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.122 Falsely holding oneself out as a lawyer 3rd Degree   
Penal Code 38.123 Unauthorized practice of law 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 38.14 Taking or attempting to take weapon from peace officer, federal special investigator, employee or official of correctional facility, parole officer, community supervision & corrections department officer, or commissioned security officer 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 38.14 Taking or attempting to take weapon from peace officer, federal special investigator, employee or official of correctional facility, parole officer, community supervision & corrections department officer, or commissioned security officer State Jail  
Penal Code 38.151 Interference with police service animals 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 38.151 Interference with police service animals State Jail  
Penal Code 38.152 Interference with radio frequency licensed to government entity State Jail  
Penal Code 39.02 Abuse of official capacity 1st Degree  
Penal Code 39.02 Abuse of official capacity 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 39.02 Abuse of official capacity 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 39.02 Abuse of official capacity State Jail  
Penal Code 39.04 Violations of the civil rights of person in custody & improper sexual activity with person in custody 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 39.04 Violations of the civil rights of person in custody & improper sexual activity with person in custody State Jail  
Penal Code 39.06 Misuse of official information 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 42.06 False alarm or report State Jail  
Penal Code 42.062 Interference with emergency telephone call State Jail  
Penal Code 42.072 Stalking 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 42.072 Stalking 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 42.09 Cruelty to livestock animals 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 42.09 Cruelty to livestock animals State Jail  
Penal Code 42.091 Attack on assistance animal 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 42.091 Attack on assistance animal State Jail  
Penal Code 42.092 Cruelty to nonlivestock animals 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 42.092 Cruelty to nonlivestock animals State Jail   
Penal Code 42.10 Dog fighting State Jail  
Penal Code 42.105 Cockfighting State Jail  
Penal Code 43.02 Prostitution 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 43.02 Prostitution 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 43.02 Prostitution State Jail  
Penal Code 43.04 Aggravated promotion of prostitution 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 43.05 Compelling prostitution 1st Degree  
Penal Code 43.05 Compelling prostitution 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 43.23 Obscenity 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 43.23 Obscenity State Jail  
Penal Code 43.24 Sale, distribution, or display of harmful material to minor 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 43.25 Sexual performance by a child 1st Degree  
Penal Code 43.25 Sexual performance by a child 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 43.25 Sexual performance by a child 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 43.251 Employment harmful to children relating to obscenity 1st Degree  
Penal Code 43.251 Employment harmful to children relating to obscenity 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 43.251 Employment harmful to children relating to obscenity 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 43.251 Employment harmful to children relating to obscenity State Jail  
Penal Code 43.26 Possession or promotion of child pornography 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 43.26 Possession or promotion of child pornography 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.02 Unlawful carrying weapons 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.03 Possession of weapon where prohibited 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.035 Unlawful carrying of handgun by handgun license holder 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.04 Unlawful possession of firearm 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.041 Unlawful possession of metal or body armor by felon 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.05 Possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale of prohibited weapons 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.05 Possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale of prohibited weapons State Jail  
Penal Code 46.06 Unlawful transfer of certain weapons State Jail  
Penal Code 46.09 Possession of components of an explosive weapon 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.10 Possession of deadly weapon while confined in penal institution 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 46.11 Offense committed within a weapon-free zone Other  
Penal Code 46.14 Firearm smuggling 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 46.14 Firearm smuggling 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 49.045 Driving while intoxicated with child passenger State Jail  
Penal Code 49.07 Intoxication assault 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 49.08 Intoxication manslaughter 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 49.09 Enhanced offenses & penalties relating to intoxication Other  
Penal Code 71.02 Engaging in organized criminal activity Other  
Penal Code 71.022 Coercing, inducing, or soliciting membership in a criminal street gang 2nd Degree  
Penal Code 71.022 Coercing, inducing, or soliciting membership in a criminal street gang 3rd Degree  
Penal Code 71.023 Directing activities of certain criminal street gangs 1st Degree  
Penal Code 71.028 Offenses committed in gang-free zones Other  
Property Code 162.032 Misapplication of trust funds of $500 or more with intent to defraud 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 151.703 Failure to pay limited sales, excise, & use taxes collected 1st Degree  
Tax Code 151.703 Failure to pay limited sales, excise, & use taxes collected 2nd Degree  
Tax Code 151.703 Failure to pay limited sales, excise, & use taxes collected 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 151.703 Failure to pay limited sales, excise, & use taxes collected State Jail  
Tax Code 151.707 Falsification or fraudulent alteration of a resale or exemption certificate in connection with the limited sales, excise, & use tax 2nd Degree  
Tax Code 151.707 Falsification or fraudulent alteration of a resale or exemption certificate in connection with the limited sales, excise, & use tax 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 151.708 Failure to produce certain records after using resale certificate 2nd Degree  
Tax Code 151.708 Failure to produce certain records after using resale certificate 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 151.71 Making a false entry or failing to enter in records relating to the limited sales, excise, & use tax 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 152.101 Signing a false statement or certificate relating to taxes on the sale, rental, & use of motor vehicles 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 152.104 Failure to remit the motor vehicle sales tax 1st Degree  
Tax Code 152.104 Failure to remit the motor vehicle sales tax 2nd Degree  
Tax Code 152.104 Failure to remit the motor vehicle sales tax 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 152.104 Failure to remit the motor vehicle sales tax State Jail  
Tax Code 154.517 Certain cigarette tax offenses 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 154.520 Certain offenses relating to counterfeit stamps & the cigarette tax N/A Imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than 20 years
Tax Code 155.213 Certain offenses relating to the cigar & tobacco products tax 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 159.201 Possession of taxable controlled substance on which the tax is unpaid 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 159.202 Certain offenses relating to counterfeit tax payment certificates & the controlled substances tax 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 159.203 Certain offenses relating to previously used tax payment certificates & the controlled substances tax 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 162.405 Certain motor fuel tax offenses 2nd Degree  
Tax Code 162.405 Certain motor fuel tax offenses 3rd Degree  
Tax Code 171.363 Certain offenses relating to wilful & fraudulent acts relating to the franchise tax 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 24.011 Failure to properly register aircraft 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 24.012 Failure to clearly display aircraft identification numbers on an aircraft 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 24.013 Operating an aircraft with noncompliant fuel containers 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 501.109 Certain offenses relating to nonrepairable & salvage motor vehicles State Jail  
Transportation Code 501.151 Placement of serial number with intent to change identity of a motor vehicle 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 501.155 False name, false information, & forgery in connection with a certificate of title for a motor vehicle 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 502.410 Falsification or forgery in relation to the registration of vehicles 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 503.094 Unauthorized reproduction of temporary motor vehicle tags State Jail  
Transportation Code 521.456 Delivery or manufacture of counterfeit driver’s license, personal identification certificate, or other instrument 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 521.457 Conspiring to manufacture counterfeit license or certificate 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 521.457 Conspiring to manufacture counterfeit license or certificate State Jail  
Transportation Code 545.066 Passing a school bus State Jail  
Transportation Code 545.420 Racing on a highway 2nd Degree  
Transportation Code 545.420 Racing on a highway 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 545.420 Racing on a highway State Jail  
Transportation Code 547.614 Certain offenses relating to the installation, alteration, or manufacture of airbags 2nd Degree  
Transportation Code 547.614 Certain offenses relating to the installation, alteration, or manufacture of airbags 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 548.603 Making or possessing a fictitious or counterfeit inspection certificate or insurance document 2nd Degree  
Transportation Code 548.603 Making or possessing a fictitious or counterfeit inspection certificate or insurance document 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 548.604 Fraudulent emissions inspection of motor vehicle State Jail  
Transportation Code 550.021 Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury 3rd Degree  
Transportation Code 550.021 Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury N/A Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than five years or in the county jail for not more than one year, a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both
Utilities Code 15.030 Certain offenses relating to the Public Utility Regulatory Act 3rd Degree  
Utilities Code 105.024 Certain offenses relating to the Gas Utility Regulatory Act 3rd Degree  
Utilities Code 186.032 Fraudulently obtaining telecommunications services N/A Fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not less than two years & not more than five years, or both
Vernon’s Civil Statutes  Art. 179e, Sec. 14.01 Touting or making a false statement or conveying false information about a greyhound or horse race State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.05 Wagering on a horse or greyhound race conducted on Indian lands 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.06 False statements material to a Texas Racing Commission action relating to a racetrack license 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.06 False statements relating to an investigation or the exercise of authorized discretion under the Texas Racing Act State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.08 Forging pari-mutuel ticket 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.10 Unlawful influence on racing, use of prohibited device or substance 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.10 Unlawful influence on racing, possession of prohibited device or substance State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes  Art. 179e, Sec. 14.11 Bribery & corrupt influence relating to a horse or greyhound race 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.11 Bribery & corrupt influence relating to a horse or greyhound race State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.15 Pari-mutuel racing without a license State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 14.16 Conducting a horse or greyhound race without a racetrack license 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 179e, Sec. 15.01 Violation of a penal offense of the Texas Racing Act with no specific penalty State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Certain offenses relating to dealing in securities or rendering services as an investment adviser or investment adviser representative 1st Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Certain offenses relating to dealing in securities or rendering services as an investment adviser or investment adviser representative 2nd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Certain offenses relating to dealing in securities or rendering services as an investment adviser or investment adviser representative 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Dealing in securities without being a registered dealer or agent 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Dealing in certain unauthorized securities 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Violating certain cease & desist orders issued by the securities commissioner 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Making a false or misleading statement in a filed document or proceeding under the Securities Act 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Rendering services as an investment adviser or investment adviser representative without the required registration 3rd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Making a false statement or representation concerning a Securities Act registration or exemption State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Making an offer of a security not in compliance with applicable requirements State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 581-29 Making an offer of a security prohibited by a certain cease publication order State Jail  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 1446a, Sec. 5 Sabotage of public utilities N/A Imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than two years nor more than five years
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 1446a, Sec. 5-a Conspiracy to sabotage public utilities N/A Imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than two years nor more than five years
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 5190.14, Sec. 11 Bribery as it relates to certain sporting games & events, including the 2011 Pan American Games & the 2012 Olympic Games 2nd Degree  
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 6215 Offenses relating to the payment of certain pensions N/A Fine of not less than $100, imprisonment in the county jail for not less than three months, or imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than one year
Vernon’s Civil Statutes Art. 8656 Entering into or assisting in making certain contracts of sale for the future delivery of cotton, grain, stocks, or other commodities, or maintaining a bucket shop N/A Imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding two years
Water Code 7.155 Falsification of a record or report concerning the prevention or cleanup of a discharge or spill of a hazardous substance into state waters 3rd Degree  
Water Code 13.415 Certain offenses relating to water rates & services 3rd Degree  
Water Code 26.3574 Certain offenses relating to the delivery of certain petroleum products 2nd Degree  
Water Code 26.3574 Certain offenses relating to the delivery of certain petroleum products 3rd Degree

 

Houston Felony Lawyer

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Arrested for Murder in Houston? Why Hiring An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Crucial

Best Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

Are you currently in a situation where you are facing criminal charges for Murder? Houston Criminal Homicide Lawyer Charles Johnson represents clients charged with Homicide crimes throughout all of Texas. The Charles Johnson Law Firm can provide legal counsel at virtually any stage of your case, even if formal charges have not yet been filed against you. Currently, Texas has six types of Criminal Homicide charges:

Homicide is the act of killing another person, either intentionally or unintentionally. It is perhaps the most serious crime you could be accused of, and the potential penalties you could face if convicted are equally serious. Your lawyer must be well-versed in Texas and Federal Homicide laws to successfully represent you. If you or someone you love has been charged with any type of Criminal Homicide, you must take these charges very seriously and seek the legal advice of an experienced and knowledgeable Houston Criminal Defense Attorney right away. The Charles Johnson Law Firm will examine all the details of your case and will challenge the evidence against you. Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson has helped his clients either prove their innocence, or obtain a reduction in the charges against them. Whether you or guilty or not, you deserve to have an experienced attorney on your side who will work aggressively, to protect you and your rights. Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson anytime night or day directly at (713) 222-7577. He is always available to discuss your case.

Texas Penal Code Chapter 19:  Four Types Of Criminal Homicide

TPC section 19.01 states that there are four types of Criminal Homicide.  They are Murder, Capital Murder, Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide.

Murder

Under TPC section 19.02 there are three basic ways to commit murder:

  1. intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual;
  2. intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual;  or
  3. commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission
    or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.

Murder is usually a felony of the first degree, the possible punishment for which is imprisonment in the institutional division for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years and/or by a fine not to exceed $10,000.  The only exception to this that the crime is a felony of the second degree if the requirements of TPC sec. 19.02 (d) are satisfied:

At the punishment stage of a trial, the defendant may raise the issue as to
whether he caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising
from an adequate cause.  If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a
preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a felony of the second degree.

During the punishment phase of the trial, a defendant may argue that he caused the death while under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause. “Sudden passion” is “passion directly caused by and arising out of provocation by the individual killed or another acting with the person killed which passion arises at the time of the offense and is not solely the result of former provocation.

Adequate cause” is a “cause that would commonly produce a degree of anger, rage, resentment, or terror in a person of ordinary temper, sufficient to render the mind incapable of cool reflection.” Sudden passion is a mitigating circumstance that, if found by the jury to have been proven by a preponderance of the evidence, reduces the offense from a first degree felony to a second degree felony.

Thus, before defendants are allowed to have the judge or jury consider sudden passion, defendants must prove:

  1. that there was a adequate (legally recognized) provocation for the emotion or passion;
  2. an emotion or passion such as terror, anger, rage, fear or resentment existed;
  3. that the homicide occurred while the passion or emotion still existed;
  4. that the homicide occurred before there was a reasonable opportunity for the passion or emotion to cool (dissipate);  and,
  5. that there was a causal connection between the provocation, the passion, and the homicide.

A second degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years nor less than 2 years, and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.  This is where the old offense of “voluntary manslaughter” ended up after amendments to the TPC effective in 1994.  Thus, there is currently no offense of voluntary manslaughter in Texas.

Capital Murder

A capital murder is a capital felony. The Texas Penal Code specifically defines Capital Murder (and, thus, the possibility of the death penalty as a punishment) as murder which involves one or more of the elements listed below:

  1. the person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;
  2. the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or
    retaliation, or terroristic threat,
  3. the person commits the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employs another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration;
  4. the person commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution;
  5. the person, while incarcerated in a penal institution, murders another:
    1. who is employed in the operation of the penal institution;  or
    2. with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination;
  6. the person:
    1. while incarcerated for an offense under this section or Sec.19.02, murders another;  or
    2. while serving a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of 99 years for an offense under  Sec. 20.04, 22.021, or 29.03, murders another;
  7. the person murders more than one person:
    1. during the same criminal transaction;  or
    2. during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct;
  8. the person murders an individual under six years of age;  or
  9. the person murders another person in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court.

A capital felony is punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole.  If the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty, life without parole is the mandatory sentence.  Prior to 2005, capital felony life imprisonment was life with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Under current state law, the crimes of Capital Murder and Capital Sabotage (see below) or a second conviction for the aggravated sexual assault of someone under 14 is eligible for the death penalty.

Note: The Texas Penal Code allows for the death penalty to be assessed for “aggravated sexual assault of child committed by someone previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of child”. The statute remains part of the Penal Code; however, the Supreme Court of the United State’s decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana which outlawed the death penalty for any crime not involving murder nullifies its effect.

The Texas Penal Code also allows a person can be convicted of any felony, including capital murder, “as a party” to the offense. “As a party” means that the person did not personally commit the elements of the crime, but is otherwise responsible for the conduct of the actual perpetrator as defined by law; which includes:

  • soliciting for the act,
  • encouraging its commission,
  • aiding the commission of the offense,
  • participating in a conspiracy to commit any felony where one of the conspirators commits the crime of capital murder

The felony involved does not have to be capital murder; if a person is proven to be a party to a felony offense and a murder is committed, the person can be charged with and convicted of capital murder, and thus eligible for the death penalty.
As in any other state, people who are under 18 at the time of commission of the capital crime or mentally retarded are precluded from being executed by the Constitution of the United States.

Manslaughter

Manslaughter  (TPC sec. 19.04) is recklessly causing the death of an individual.  Manslaughter is a felony of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years nor less than 2 years, and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Texas does not officially use the term “involuntary manslaughter” or “voluntary manslaughter” which can sometimes be a little bit confusing. Many states do make the distinction between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Instead, Texas combines involuntary and voluntary manslaughter together and it is known as just “manslaughter.”

To convict a defendant of manslaughter, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant recklessly caused the death of another individual. There is no requirement of premeditation to this crime and no requirement for there to be intent or knowledge on the part of the defendant. The only requirement is that the defendant’s conduct was reckless.

Although manslaughter is defined broadly in Texas, there are specific types of manslaughter that are treated separately. For example, intoxication manslaughter is one, and vehicular manslaughter is another. Intoxication manslaughter deals with the defendant recklessly causing the death of another while intoxicated. Cases involving driving while intoxicated would probably be prosecuted under TPC sec. 49.08, Intoxication Manslaughter (see below), rather than under this section. Vehicular manslaughter deals with the defendant recklessly causing the death of another while driving a vehicle or vessel.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

Criminally negligent homicide (TPC sec. 19.05) is causing the death of an individual by criminal negligence.  It is a state jail felony under which in general, a person can be confined in a state jail for not more than two years nor less than 180 days.  In addition, a fine of not more than $10,000 may be assessed.

Criminally Negligent Homicide differs from Manslaughter only in terms of the culpability or mens rea.  Criminally negligent homicide involves criminal negligence.  Manslaughter involves recklessness.  Thus, Manslaughter involves conscious risk creation (the actor is aware of the risk surrounding his conduct or the results thereof, but consciously disregards that awareness).  Criminally negligent homicide involves inattentive risk creation.  The actor ought to have been aware of the riskiness of his or her conduct but failed to perceive the risk.

Recklessness and criminal negligence are more serious forms of culpability than the negligence that can result in civil liability. Unlike civil  or ordinary negligence, recklessness requires some subjective awareness of the risk.  Ordinary negligence is a totally objective standard.  Criminal negligence requires a “gross” deviation from the standard of care a reasonable or ordinary person would have exercised under the same circumstances.  Criminal negligence is roughly equivalent to “gross negligence” which is a more serious form of culpability than ordinary negligence.  Ordinary negligence can be made out by showing any deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise.

Texas Penal Code Section 49.08 Intoxication Manslaughter

The final type of criminal homicide found in Texas Code is found in TPC ch. 49, “Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses.”  A person is guilty of intoxication manslaughter if the person operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, watercraft or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride and “  is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.”

“Intoxicated is defined as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more or

not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body . . .

This offense is a felony of the second degree.  A second degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years nor less than 2 years, and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000

Note that this is a strict liability offense. Guilt attaches even if the death is caused by accident or mistake.  Many observers are critical of strict liability offenses because they arguably punish conduct which is not blameworthy.  Supporters of strict liability offenses counter that such offenses are usually fine-only offenses.  This is clearly not the case for sec. 49.08 for which a person could be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

Best Houston Criminal Defense LawyerSection 49.08 does not apply to injury or death of an unborn child if the offense against the unborn child is committed by the mother of the unborn child.  Thus, if a pregnant woman is driving while intoxicated and has an accident which kills her fetus, it is not a crime.

Texas Government Code – Section 557.012 Capital Sabotage

  1. A person commits an offense if the person commits an offense under Section 557.011(a) and the sabotage or attempted sabotage causes the death of an individual.
  2. An offense under this section is punishable by:
    1. death; or
    2. confinement in the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for:
      1. life; or
      2. a term of not less than two years.
  3. If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under other law, the actor may be prosecuted under both sections.

Possible Defenses for Murder Charges

Defenses to first degree murder charges fall into two major categories: claims that the defendant did not commit the killing in question, and admission that the defendant committed the killing, but did not commit first degree murder.

Defendants admitting to having killed the victim can assert defenses that they were justified in doing so (in self defense, for example), or that they were somehow incapacitated and thus not legally liable. These defenses require the defendant to put forth proof to support his or her defense.

First degree murder defendants also may simply argue that the prosecution has not proved all elements of a first degree murder charge typically that the defendant killed willfully, deliberately and with premeditation. Though the defendant may support such an argument with evidence, he or she is not required to do so, as proof of all elements of the crime falls on the shoulders of the prosecution.

As with statutes defining crimes, the defenses recognized for a specific crime can vary by state. Furthermore, which defenses a criminal defendant may have depends on the particular facts of the case in question. For guidance, defendants should consult an attorney well versed in his or her state’s criminal laws.

Mistaken Identity

In first degree murder cases, as well as other homicide crimes, defendants often argue mistaken identity i.e., that the prosecution has charged the wrong person with the killing. A defendant arguing mistaken identity often asserts an alibi if possible, which he or she tries to support with evidence of being somewhere else at the time of the killing. Other arguments in a mistaken identity defense include challenges to evidence placing the defendant at the scene of the crime. This can include challenges to witness identification as well as challenges to forensic evidence. A mistaken identity defense may also point to evidence implicating another possible suspect, but courts do not require defendants to do so.

Justified Homicide

Not all homicides are crimes, let alone first degree murders. The most common legal justification for a killing is self-defense or the defense of others.

Self-Defense

To succeed, a defendant arguing self defense must show that the killing resulted from a reasonable use of force to resist a reasonable fear of death or bodily harm. The defendant cannot have instigated the threatening situation. The degree of force used in self-defense must be proportional to the threat perceived, and the threat perceived must be something that would place a reasonable person in fear of death or great bodily harm. Mere words or insults do not suffice.

The defendant’s reaction to the threat cannot take place after the threat of death or bodily harm has passed. Many states require that the defendant attempt to retreat or avoid danger if possible before resorting to the use of deadly force.

For example, if someone incapacitates a mugger with pepper spray, he or she may need to attempt to flee to safety instead of taking out a pistol and shooting the mugger. States differ in the degree to which they require an attempt to retreat if the threat they face occurs in the defender’s home.

Defense of Others

The reasonable and proportional defense of others also justifies some killings. The same requirements as self-defense typically apply: the use of force must be timely and proportional to the threat faced, and the perceived threat of death or bodily harm must be reasonable.

Exercise of Duty

Certain killings by law enforcement and other public officers qualify as justified homicides. If an officer kills someone in the exercise of duty and without an unlawful intent, recklessness or negligence, that killing generally does not constitute murder, let alone first degree murder.

Accident or Misfortune

Killings committed by accident in the course of lawful activities do not constitute murder. Some such killings may result in liability for manslaughter, but unless an accidental homicide takes place during the commission of a crime or as a result of other criminal intentions, they would not be covered by first degree or second degree murder statutes. In certain cases, such as parental discipline of children which results in even accidental death, the use of physical force beyond excepted norms can push the killing into murder and possibly, depending on state law, first degree murder.

Insanity Defense

Most states recognize an insanity defense to charges of first degree murder. Even states which allow the defense, however, treat it differently and often apply different tests. Most states define insanity, for purposes of determining criminal liability, as cognitively being unable to appreciate the quality of the act being committed, or unable to realize that the act is wrong. Some states also recognize a volitional aspect to “insanity” giving some defendants with disorders affecting impulse control access to the insanity defense.

Hire the Best Criminal Homicide Lawyers: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

Murder charges are of course the most serious of all charges and the most seriously pursued by the State Attorney’s Office or Federal Prosecutors. A person charged with homicide (murder) in Texas risks significant jail time and most convictions will result in never being released from custody. In some cases, they face being sentenced to death. Texas has become infamous in the country for the number of murders.

However not all deaths are criminal, and there are several powerful homicide defenses provided under Texas Law. If you or someone you know is charged with some form of a Homicide charge, then you need the best possible attorney. You are entitled to the best legal defense possible. Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson can deliver that defense for you. Houston Criminal Homicide Lawyer Charles Johnson is available to discuss your case whenever you need him. Contact him directly at (713) 222-7577. His Law Office is headquartered in Houston, with offices conveniently located in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

Arrested for Murder in Houston? Why Hiring An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Crucial

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Charged with DWI in Harris County? Representation By The Best Houston DWI Lawyer Is Critical

Best Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been criminally charged for allegedly driving under the influence, DWI Attorney Charles Johnson represents clients throughout the state of Texas in state and federal courts from his convenient located office locations in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.  The Charles Johnson Law Firm provides the highest level of representation in assisting our clients through the rigors of a DWI case. After you are charged with DWI in the Houston area, you are confronted with an unpleasant truth: anyone who drinks and drives is subject to arrest, whether or not they are actually affected by alcohol. However, being charged does not mean being convicted. Contact Houston DWI Lawyer Charles Johnson directly anytime day or night at (713) 222-7577 to discuss your case.

Hire the Best Houston DWI Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

When someone gets arrested for a DWI, they get a lot of advice from almost everyone around them; friends, family, co-workers, and sometimes even the arresting officer gives you advice about what to do. It probably seems like everyone has a different answer for what is “the best thing to do.” And then you may have received some annoying letters from attorneys who do not even know you, some of which can be very intimidating, frightening, or just plain obnoxious.

The fact is that no two DWI’s are alike, because penalties and options vary depending on the facts of what happened, your prior record, the county and city you were arrested in, and the status of your driver’s license.

To get superior DWI representation, you need the best of these three things:

KNOWLEDGE.
The Best Houston DWI lawyer will be familiar with the city and county of your offense and should know how that jurisdiction treats DWI cases like yours. Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson is aware of the current DWI statutes and case law, which changes all the time. Finally, your DWI lawyer should take the time to know about your situation so the goals of your case suit your individual needs.

STRATEGY.
DWI cases are not easy to win, and the justice system is not about to do any favors for DWI offenders in today’s anti-DWI society. An effective strategy is one that preserves every possible opportunity to impact the various penalties you will be facing. That is the key to superior DWI Defense Strategy: preserving and taking advantage of opportunities. Whether it is for purposes of arguing the issues of your case, negotiating a settlement, or controlling the timing of the penalties you will be facing, a solid strategy will help you come out of this with as little damage as possible.

DEDICATION.
The Best Houston DWI Attorney will devote an adequate amount of time and resources to your defense. You do not want an attorney that does not take the time to explain the ins and outs of your case to you every step of the way. You DO want a DWI lawyer who is passionate about defending DWI cases. Our DWI clients have taken advantage of our Knowledge, Strategy, and Dedication for honest solutions to their DWI problems. Don’t let another day go by before you start working on your case. Contact the Best Houston DWI Lawyer Charles Johnson today at (713) 222-7577 for a free case evaluation.

About DWI in Texas

In Texas, the legal limit for intoxication is .08 BAC. If an officer thinks your driving is impaired, you can still be stopped and arrested for DWI regardless of your BAC. Penalties get worse with every DWI offense.

Texas is a national leader in many areas?unfortunately, one of these is in the number of accidents and deaths related to driving while intoxicated (DWI). Each year, thousands of Texans are involved in this tragedy; about 2,000 of them die.

Texas is also a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking; any detectable amount of alcohol in drivers under 21 is a crime. Yet young drivers account for many alcohol-related traffic accidents, and the age group with the most violations and accidents are those between 21 and 34. Remember, teens and young people are actually more prone to reaching higher alcohol concentrations more quickly than older drinkers. Size and body weight also play a role. Big Uncle Fred may be able to toss back those shots of tequila and maintain an allegedly safe BAC but younger, smaller people may not be able to accomplish this feat.

While a DWI conviction requires a BAC of 0.08% or above, any driver can be cited for “driving while impaired” by drugs or lower concentrations of alcohol.

Texas DWI Penalties for Drunk Driving

Driving while intoxicated, first offense, is a Class B Misdemeanor that is defined at Texas Penal Code §49.04. That provision states that, “A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place”.

This definition sets forth the elements that must be proven to sustain a conviction.  Those elements are:

  • The defendant, on or about a particular date
  • Was operating a motor vehicle
  • In a public place (street, highway, beach, parking lot, etc)
  • In a particular county
  • While intoxicated The Texas legislature has specifically defined the term “intoxication”, as that term is used for prosecution of DWI cases {Texas Penal Code §49.01(2)}

In addition, there are two definitions to encompass those who do or do not submit to chemical testing:

1) “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or

2) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”

It is important to note that the law provides for intoxication by the introduction of any intoxicating substance into the body. This is designed to make our roadways safe from dangerous drivers.

Typically, proof at trial is restricted to alcohol unless some statements or other indications suggest that the driver has become impaired by some other substance.  Equally as important, being on prescription drugs is not a defense to a DWI prosecution. If the label suggests that ingestion will impair one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle or machinery, taking such medicine and driving may subject you to DWI arrest and conviction.

At trial, the State therefore may prove intoxication in three (3) different ways:

  • not having the normal use of physical faculties OR
  • not having the normal use of mental faculties OR
  • having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more

The jury does not have to be unanimous on the manner and means of intoxication, only that the person was intoxicated.

Plus, intoxication must occur and be proven to occur while driving. Many other States provide for prosecution of a “lesser included” offense other than DWI (i.e. reckless driving, impaired driving, driving under the influence, etc.). Texas however has no lesser included offense of DWI. Some counties offer plea bargain agreements to other charges than DWI, but they are the exception and not the rule.

Classifications and Range of Punishment for DWI Conviction

DWI, 1st Offense:  Class B Misdemeanor in Texas

Fine

A fine not to exceed $2,000.

Jail

Confinement in the County Jail for a term of not less the 72 hours nor more that six (6) months.

Open Container

If there was an open container of alcohol in your car when arrested, the minimum term of confinement is six (6) days in the county jail.

Community Service

Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 24 hours nor more than 100 hours.

Absent unusual facts, most persons convicted of a first offense DWI are granted community supervision (“probation”) of any confinement ordered. The general length of DWI probation is from 1-2 years. There are also conditions of community supervision ordered that are fairly standard in most courts. Typical conditions imposed are: Drug/Alcohol Evaluation. A person convicted of DWI will be required to submit to evaluation for probability of committing DWI in the future and/or to disclose a potential problem with alcohol or drug abuse. If a problem is detected, additional terms and conditions of probation are ordered to be administered through the Community Supervision Department. Attend and complete an approved DWI Education class within 180 days from the date of conviction (Satisfying this requirement will avoid the one (1) year drivers license suspension, unless if you were a minor (under 21) at the time of the offense.) Attend and complete a Victim Impact Panel. This is a forum that presents victims of drunk drivers to address persons convicted of DWI and warn of the dangers and perils of driving while intoxicated. Work faithfully at suitable employment, commit no other crimes, remain at the same residence and employment unless notification is given to the community supervision officer, report monthly to the supervision office, pay all fines and costs in a timely manner. Pay a monthly supervisory fee. Perform a specified hours of community or volunteer service.  NOTE: If convicted, you will be given an Order Granting Probation. This Order will be specific and unique to your case and fully sets forth the terms and conditions of your probation which apply to you. It is the blueprint for your probation.

Additional Conditions of Probation that may be Ordered:

If your case presents unusual facts (accident, alcohol problem, prior alcohol contacts, bad driving record etc.), additional conditions may be ordered. Most conditions are designed to address a problem that appears from the facts or alcohol/drug evaluation that is performed on the subject after conviction. Again, a specific order is given after each conviction. The following list is only a general discussion of conditions that have been imposed in some DWI cases in my experience and may not apply to you.

Deep lung air device

This provision requires that you install and maintain a device on any car which you intend to drive during probation. The device requires a breath sample before it will allow your car to start. Some devices require periodic breaths while driving. This condition is sometimes recommended after an unfavorable drug/alcohol evaluation during a first-offense probation, and is almost always ordered as a condition of bond on a subsequent offense arrest.

Alcohol Treatment

Attendance at AA or other counseling programs offered through the probation department. In extreme cases outpatient programs may be ordered. This condition is recommended after an unfavorable drug/alcohol evaluation.

Consume no alcohol

Most courts require that a person not consume any alcohol during probation. This provision is monitored by periodic and random urinalysis at the probation office. Some courts will not even allow a probationer to enter a bar, tavern or lounge where alcohol is sold and consumed.

Confinement

Again, in some extreme circumstances, the Court may order that a DWI offender serve confinement in the county jail as a condition of being granted probation.

Restitution

If there was an accident followed by a DWI arrest, and if your insurance company has not paid damages to the other party, restitution of any unpaid amounts will be ordered by the Court as a condition of probation.

Enhanced Penalties (Prior alcohol or drug related criminal history)

Under Texas law, if it is shown that a person has been previously convicted of DWI, the punishment and penalties after conviction are increased or enhanced. The prior DWI conviction must have occurred within ten (10) years of the present arrest for DWI. Additionally, if a person has any prior DWI conviction within the previous ten year period (measured from dates of arrest), the State is then allowed to use any prior DWI conviction since obtaining a drivers license to enhance the accusation to a DWI, third offense. NOTE: Texas can use prior convictions that have occurred in other states for enhancement of punishment.

DWI, Second Offense: Class A Misdemeanor Special Condition for Jail Release on Bond:

It is important to note that if arrested and accused of a DWI Second or greater offense, Texas law now requires the Court to Order as a CONDITION OF RELEASE FROM JAIL ON BOND, that the person install and maintain a deep lung air device on the car that the person intends to drive and operate while charges are pending. The device requires a breath sample before it will allow you to start your car. They also require periodic breaths while driving to monitor and insure sobriety. New technology has made these devices “user sensitive” so that someone else cannot blow into the device for the driver.

Although this provision seems to run afoul of the presumption of innocence, Texas Courts have consistently held that such condition is necessary to protect a legitimate governmental interest in making public roadways safe for the motoring public.

Fine

A fine not to exceed $4,000.00.

Jail

Confinement in the County Jail for a term of not less than 72 hours nor more than one (1) year.

Community Service

Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 80 hours nor more than 200 hours.

Deep lung air device

Typically deep lung devices are required for all DWI second offenders during probation.

Suspension of license

A person convicted of DWI, Second may have their driving privilege suspended for not less than 180 days or more than two (2) years.

DWI, Third Offense (or greater): Third degree FELONY

Fine

A fine not to exceed $10,000.00.

Jail

Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 years nor more than ten (10) years.

Deep lung air device

Deep lung air devices are generally ordered on all persons convicted of three or more DWI’s both as conditions of bond and as conditions of any occupational or provisional licenses that may be awarded after conviction.

Community Service

Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 160 hours nor more than 600 hours.

Suspension of license

A person convicted of DWI, Second may have their driving privilege suspended for not less than 180 days or more than two (2) years.

Other

A third conviction for DWI indicates a significant problem with alcohol to the Court or jury assessing punishment. Some type of rehabilitative treatment is therefore mandated in punishment if confinement in the penitentiary is to be avoided. In some cases an in-patient, incarceration program (Substance Abuse Felony Probation SAFP) is ordered. This program requires confinement in a State Facility for alcohol rehabilitation. After successful completion of the SAFP program, the person is then released and placed on probation for a term not to exceed ten (10) years. Another popular condition for habitual DWI offenders is a prescription for a drug named “Antabuse”. This drug will make a person violently ill if any alcohol is consumed. The alcohol can be contained in mouthwash or marinated food and will still have the same effect on the user. If a person has any type of liver problems, this drug can cause liver failure and death.

Texas law does not provide for any increased punishment after DWI, third offense. If a person presents a DWI, fourth offense or beyond, the typical punishment is confinement in the penitentiary from two (2) to ten (10) years without probation being granted. In some cases SAFP may be granted upon proper request and showing that it is appropriate.

Intoxication Assault

Third degree Felony “A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake, while operating a …. motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another” {Texas Penal Code §49.07}. ” ‘Serious Bodily Injury’ means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ”.

Fine

A fine not to exceed $10,000.00.

Jail

Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 year nor more than ten (10) years.

Community Service

Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 160 hours nor more than 600 hours.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Second Degree Felony “A person commits an offense if the person:

1) …operates a motor vehicle in a public place, and…

2) …is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.”

Fine

A fine not to exceed $10,000.00.Jail: Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 year nor more than twenty (20) years.

Community Service

Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 240 hours nor more than 800 hours.

NOTE

If a person is involved in an accident where there is risk of death or death, a mandatory blood sample will be taken for analysis and use in the prosecution of either Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program

What is an ALR Hearing?
Many Texas drivers who are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) do not realize that a DWI arrest creates two separate cases, one civil and one criminal.

Specifically, a DWI arrest results in both a criminal charge, and usually initiates a civil proceeding against the arrested driver’s driving privileges called an Administrative License Revocation, or ALR.

An ALR suspension is initiated against an arrested driver when he either refuses to submit to breath or blood testing, or alternatively, fails a breath or blood test. The legal authority to impose an ALR suspension against a driver lies in the Texas implied consent statute.

This law states that each person who operates a motor vehicle on Texas roadways has given his or her implied consent to provide a specimen of breath or blood if arrested for DWI and provided with the applicable consequences of refusing to submit to testing.

Notice of ALR Suspension
Many police officers, after arresting a citizen, will tell the arrested driver that if he does not agree to take a breath or blood test that his license will be automatically and immediately suspended.

This is incorrect. When making an arrest for DWI, peace officers are required to take possession of any Texas license issued by this state and held by the person arrested and issue the person a temporary driving permit that expires on the 41st day after the date of issuance. Further, a request for a hearing to challenge the proposed suspension will delay any ALR sanctions until a hearing takes place.

Hearing Request Provisions
ALR suspensions are automatic unless you request a hearing to challenge the suspension, in writing, WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS after receiving notice of suspension from the arresting agency on a Department of Public Safety approved form. This document is generally received on the day of arrest.

If a hearing is not requested in a timely manner, the suspension will automatically begin on the forty-first (41st) day after notice was received. If a hearing is requested, no action will be taken regarding suspension until after the hearing has taken place, even if the hearing takes place more than forty days after the arrest.

The ALR Hearing
The burden of proof at an ALR hearing is on the Department of Public Safety. Once a driver or his attorney has made a timely request for an ALR hearing, no suspension may be imposed against the driver until the Department of Public Safety proves the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence at the hearing:

  1. That there was reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest the driver;
  2. That probable cause existed that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated;
  3.  That the driver was placed under arrest and was offered an opportunity to give a specimen of breath or blood after being notified both orally and in writing of the consequences of either refusing or failing a breath or blood test; and
  4. That the driver refused to give a specimen on request of the officer, or, that the driver failed a breath or blood test by registering an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.

Suspension Provisions for Adult Drivers
Without any prior alcohol or drug related contacts against the accused driver during the previous 10-year period, your license will be suspended for 90 days if your chemical test result is over a 0.08% or 180 days if you refuse a chemical test. If you have a prior alcohol or drug contact within ten years, your license will be suspended for one year if your chemical test is over 0.08% or 2 years if you refuse a chemical test. In certain circumstances you may be eligible for an Occupational License.

Possible Defenses for DWI Charges

In deciding which defenses could apply in your driving while intoxicated (DWI) case, Houston Drunk Driving Lawyer Charles Johnson will look at all the evidence produced by the police and interview witnesses. Some common defenses seen in DWI cases include:

Driving Observation Defenses
The prosecutor always relies (sometimes exclusively) on the arresting police officer’s testimony about how a DWI suspect was driving, including:

  • Very slow speeds
  • Uneven speeds (very fast, then very slow, for example)
  • Weaving from one side of a lane to the other
  • Crossing the center line of the highway
  • Running a red light
  • Hesitation in going through a green light

A good defense attorney will argue that there are many different explanations for these driving behaviors that don’t have anything to do with being alcohol-impaired.

Behavior Observation Defenses
An officer may also testify as to a DWI suspect’s appearance and behavior when questioned, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Inappropriate joking or incoherent speech
  • Stumbling or not being able to walk very far
  • Pupil enlargement

Defenses to these observations that don’t have anything to do with being intoxicated may include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Allergies
  • Contact lenses
  • Stress due to personal circumstances
  • Medications
  • Foods recently ingested
  • Nervousness over being stopped by police
  • Physical impairments
  • Field Sobriety Test Defenses

When an officer suspects you may be too intoxicated to drive, he or she will likely ask you to perform what are called “field sobriety tests.” These tests are designed to assess your physical and mental alertness, and can include:

  • Walking a straight line
  • Walking backwards
  • Reciting the alphabet, frontwards or backwards
  • Standing on one leg
  • Officers also sometimes rely on what’s called a “nystagmus” test, in which the suspect is asked to shift eye gaze from one side to the other while the officer shines a light in his or her eyes. The theory is that the gaze of someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs will be jerky rather than smooth.

The defenses to field sobriety tests are often the same as with officer observations. Medications and lack of sleep can make it considerably more difficult to perform these tests. Many people also have physical impairments caused by injuries – or simply aging -that make it impossible to perform these tasks under ideal conditions.

The Best Houston Lawyer will cross-examine the arresting officer in detail as to whether the officer asked you if you had physical impairments or there were particular circumstances that would make it difficult to perform the tests. He may also point out to the jury that many jury members may have similar difficulties performing the tests, such as by asking the jury if they could recite the alphabet backwards under the best of circumstances.

Blood Alcohol Content Defenses
When you consume alcoholic drinks, the alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream. The level of alcohol in your blood, called the Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) can be measured by different tests. In all states, you’re presumed to be drunk and unable to safely operate a vehicle if your BAC is .08 or greater. This measurement means that your blood contains eight/ one-hundredths percent of alcohol.

All states have lowered the BAC level defining intoxication to .08, and have “zero tolerance” laws that make it illegal for people under 21 to operate a vehicle with little or no amount of alcohol in their blood.

Many states also have more severe DWI or DUI penalties for driving with a high BAC, which is often defined as a level measuring more than .15 to .20.

Your BAC can be determined from a blood draw, which is often automatically taken if you are involved in an accident and there is a suspicion that you may have been drinking. Your blood will also be drawn if you are taken to the hospital because the police are concerned that you may have had so much to drink that you are in danger of alcohol poisoning and should be hospitalized for observation and/or treatment.

Most DWI suspects have their blood tested by blowing into a breath testing device. These devices can be faulty and not well-maintained or properly calibrated. They can register false results based on your consumption of food and other non-harmful substances other than alcohol or drugs.

The Best Houston DWI Lawyer will likely subpoena police records on how the breath testing machine operates and was maintained and calibrated. He may also want to bring in expert testimony that the particular breath testing machine the officer used is notorious for malfunctioning.

Depending on the jurisdiction, another defense to breath testing machines arises when the physical breath tests aren’t preserved as evidence, allowing for independent testing later. Your attorney can argue that there’s no way to know if the machine that was used was accurate, if your breath samples can’t be independently tested.

Many of the defenses against DWI charges require a lawyer’s expertise and experience. If you have been arrested for a DWI offense in Texas, do not try to handle the legal situation yourself. Contact the experienced and respected Texas DWI defense attorneys at the Charles Johnson Law Firm right away to make sure that your rights are protected.

We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.
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Arrested for DWI in Harris County? Representation By The Best Houston Criminal Lawyer Is Crucial
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Arrested for Illegal Prescription Drugs? Talk to the Best Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson

Houston Drug Attorney

A drug can be legal when prescribed by a doctor, yet it can be illegal when someone uses it without a valid prescription. If you are being investigated for a prescription drug crime, you cannot afford to be poorly represented. Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson has expertly defended prescription drug charges in Houston and throughout Texas.

The Charles Johnson Law Firm regularly assists clients with drug cases involving illegal prescription medications, such as:

  • Forging of prescriptions
  • Pharmacy fraud and prescription fraud
  • Illegal possession of prescription medications
  • Transportation of drugs
  • Distribution of drugs
  • Illegal buying prescription drugs online
  • Drug delivery, manufacturing and trafficking

If you have been charged with one or more of these offenses, you could be facing jail time and other significant consequences. It is important to know what to do in the days following an arrest and how an experienced attorney can build a vigorous defense for your charges. In many cases he will be able to have your case dismissed entirely. Call Houston Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson at (713) 222-7577 to discuss your case. Attorney Johnson answers the phone 24 hours per day and offers you a free initial consultation.

Hire the Best Houston Drug Attorney: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Texas. There are many possible ways for someone to acquire prescription drugs for illegal use. Some people obtain the prescription drugs from a person who has a valid prescription. Others steal a doctor’s official prescription pad and forge the doctor’s signature for the medication, while some create a counterfeit prescription that resembles a doctor’s official prescription. There are some who do what is called “Doctor Shopping,” which entails going to many different doctors complaining about a medical condition to get prescriptions from each of them.

What is prescription drug abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than as prescribed, or for the experience or feelings elicited. According to several national surveys, prescription medications, such as those used to treat pain, attention deficit disorders, and anxiety, are being abused at a rate second only to marijuana among illicit drug users. The consequences of this abuse have been steadily worsening, reflected in increased treatment admissions, emergency room visits, and overdose deaths.

How many people abuse prescription drugs?

According to results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs nonmedically for the first time within the past year, which averages to approximately 6,600 initiates per day. More than one-half were females and about a third were aged 12 to 17. Although prescription drug abuse affects many Americans, certain populations, such as youth, older adults, and women, may be at particular risk.

Who abuses prescription drugs?

Individuals of all ages abuse prescription drugs—data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 36 million U.S. residents aged 12 and older abused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime. The survey also revealed that millions of teenagers and young adults abuse prescription drugs—2.7 million individuals aged 12 to 17 and 6.9 million individuals aged 18 to 25 abused prescription drugs at least once. Prescription drug abuse among high school students is a particular concern. According to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey, more than 10 percent of high school seniors in the United States abused narcotics (other than heroin) at least once in their lifetime. Nearly 17 percent abused amphetamines (a type of stimulant), 10 percent abused barbiturates, and 11 percent abused tranquilizers at least once.

Adolescents and young adults

Abuse of prescription drugs is highest among young adults aged 18 to 25, with 5.9 percent reporting nonmedical use in the past month (NSDUH, 2010). Among youth aged 12 to 17, 3.0 percent reported past-month nonmedical use of prescription medications.

According to the 2010 MTF, prescription and OTC drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs by 12th graders, after alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. While past-year nonmedical use of sedatives and tranquilizers decreased among 12th graders over the last 5 years, this is not the case for the nonmedical use of amphetamines or opioid pain relievers.

When asked how prescription opioids were obtained for nonmedical use, more than half of the 12th graders surveyed said they were given the drugs or bought them from a friend or relative. Interestingly, the number of students who purchased opioids over the Internet was negligible.

Youth who abuse prescription medications are also more likely to report use of other drugs. Multiple studies have revealed associations between prescription drug abuse and higher rates of cigarette smoking; heavy episodic drinking; and marijuana, cocaine, and other illicit drug use among adolescents, young adults, and college students in the United States.

Older adults

Persons aged 65 years and older comprise only 13 percent of the population, yet account for more than one-third of total outpatient spending on prescription medications in the United States. Older patients are more likely to be prescribed long-term and multiple prescriptions, and some experience cognitive decline, which could lead to improper use of medications. Alternatively, those on a fixed income may abuse another person’s remaining medication to save money.

The high rates of comorbid illnesses in older populations, age-related changes in drug metabolism, and the potential for drug interactions may make any of these practices more dangerous than in younger populations. Further, a large percentage of older adults also use OTC medicines and dietary supplements, which (in addition to alcohol) could compound any adverse health consequences resulting from prescription drug abuse.

What prescription drugs are commonly abused?

The prescription drugs that are commonly abused in the United States fall into several broad categories: opioids/narcotics/pain relievers, CNS (Central Nervous System) depressants, and stimulants. Individuals abuse these drugs because they are an easily accessible and inexpensive means of altering a user’s mental and physical state; the effects vary depending upon the drugs they abuse.

What are some of the commonly abused prescription drugs?

Although many medications can be abused, the following three classes are most commonly abused:

  • Opioids—usually prescribed to treat pain;
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants—used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders; and
  • Stimulants—most often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What are opioids?

Opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs. Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions, including dental and injury-related pain. Morphine is often used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, on the other hand, is often prescribed for mild pain. In addition to their painrelieving properties, some of these drugs—codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil) for example—can be used to relieve coughs and severe diarrhea.

Drug Type:

  • Opioids/Narcotics/Pain Relievers
  • Common Brand Names:
  • Dilaudid (Dust, Juice, Smack, D, Footballs)
  • Lorcet (Pharmies, Beans, Hydro, Painkillers, Happy Pills)
  • Lortab (Tab, Hydro, Norco, Vikes, Viko)
  • Oxycontin (Hillbilly Heroin, Oxycet, Oxycotton)
  • Oxycodone which includes Percocet, Percodan & Tylox (Percs, Paulas, Roxicotten, Roxi’s, Blue Dynamite, 512s)
  • Vicodin (Happy Pills, Vikes)

What are CNS depressants?

CNS depressants, sometimes referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers, are substances that can slow brain activity. This property makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. Among the medications commonly prescribed for these purposes are the following:

Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), are sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks. The more sedating benzodiazepines, such as triazolam (Halcion) and estazolam (ProSom) are prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep disorders. Usually, benzodiazepines are not prescribed for longterm use because of the risk for developing tolerance, dependence, or addiction.

Non-benzodiazepine sleep medications, such as zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zalepon (Sonata), have a different chemical structure, but act on some of the same brain receptors as benzodiazepines. They are thought to have fewer side effects and less risk of dependence than benzodiazepines.

Barbiturates, such as mephobarbital (Mebaral), phenobarbital (Luminal Sodium), and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), are used less frequently to reduce anxiety or to help with sleep problems because of their higher risk of overdose compared to benzodiazepines. However, they are still used in surgical procedures and for seizure disorders.

Drug Type:

  • CNS Depressants
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sedatives

Common Brand Names:

  • Barbiturates which include Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal And Phenobarbital (Barbs, Blue Birds, Phennies, Tooties, Yellows, Reds, Yellow Jackets, Amytal, Downers, Nembutal, Phenobarbital, Red Birds, Red Devils, Seconal, Tuninal)
  • Benzodiazepines which include Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Valium Or Xanax (Candy, Downers, Sleeping Pills, And Tranks)
  • Flunitrazepam which includes Rohypnol (Known as a leading ‘date-rape’ drug, Forget-Me Pill, Mexican Valium, R2, Roche, Roofies, Rope)
  • Ketamine which includes Ketalar (Kat, Valium K, Special K, Vitamin K)

What are stimulants?

As the name suggests, stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy, as well as elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Stimulants historically were used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments. But as their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent, the medical use of stimulants began to wane. Now, stimulants are prescribed to treat only a few health conditions, including ADHD, narcolepsy, and occasionally depression—in those who have not responded to other treatments.

Drug Type:

  • Stimulants

Common Brand Names:

  • Amphetamines which include Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Desoxyn, ProCentra, Vyvanse and Biphetamine (Bennies, Black Beauties, Crosses, Hearts, LA Turnaround, Speed, Truck Drivers, Uppers)
  • Methylphenidate which includes Ritalin (Jif, Mph, R-Ball, Skippy, The Smart Drug, Vitamin R, Kiddy Cocaine, West Coast)

How are prescription drugs abused?

Prescription drugs are abused in a variety of ways. Many of the prescription drugs that are commonly abused are available as tablets. Typically abusers either consume the tablets orally or crush them into a powder, which they then snort. In some instances, abusers dissolve crushed tablets in water and then inject the solution.

How many people suffer adverse health consequences from abusing prescription drugs?

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), which monitors emergency department (ED) visits in selected areas across the Nation, reported that approximately 1 million ED visits in 2009 could be attributed to prescription drug abuse. Roughly 343,000 involved prescription opioid pain relievers, a rate more than double that of 5 years prior. ED visits also more than doubled for CNS stimulants, involved in nearly 22,000 visits in 2009, as well as CNS depressants (anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics), involved in 363,000 visits. Of the latter, benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax) comprised the vast majority. Rates for a popular prescribed nonbenzodiazepine sleep aid, zolpidem (Ambien), rose from roughly 13,000 in 2004 to 29,000 in 2009. More than half of ED visits for prescription drug abuse involved multiple drugs.

One in five teens nationwide were reported abusing a prescription pain medication and one in ten reported abuse of a prescription stimulant. (The Partnership for a Drug-Free America)

More teens abuse prescription drugs than any other illicit drug, except marijuana—more than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. (The Partnership for a Drug-Free America)

Local school officials privately express concern about the selling and easy access of prescription drugs in their schools. School administrators, however, are reluctant to speak publicly about the problem.

Experts don’t know exactly why this type of drug abuse is increasing. The availability of drugs is probably one reason. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more health problems than ever before. Online pharmacies make it easy to get prescription drugs without a prescription, even for youngsters.

Houston Drug Attorney

How are they obtained?

Prescription drugs are obtained in various ways. In some cases, unscrupulous pharmacists or other medical professionals either steal the drugs or sell fraudulent prescriptions. In a process known as doctor shopping, abusers visit several doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions. Individuals also call pharmacies with fraudulent prescription refills, or they alter prescriptions. Prescription drugs occasionally are stolen from pharmacies. Young people typically obtain prescription drugs from peers, friends, or family members. Some individuals who have legitimate prescriptions sell or give away their drugs. Young people also acquire prescription drugs by stealing them from relatives and other individuals with legitimate prescriptions or from school medicine dispensaries.

Is abusing prescription drugs illegal?

Yes, it is illegal to use prescription drugs without a valid prescription or to distribute them. The penalties associated with the abuse or illegal distribution of prescription drugs vary depending upon the drug type.

What are the penalties for possessing illegal prescription drugs in Texas?

Prescription drugs are offered legally through a prescription, however, possession of prescription pills without a legal prescription can land you in jail in Texas.

Sec. 481.115. OFFENSE: POSSESSION OF SUBSTANCE IN PENALTY GROUP 1. (a) Except as authorized by this chapter, a person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 1, unless the person obtained the substance directly from or under a valid prescription or order of a practitioner acting in the course of professional practice.

Sec. 481.117. OFFENSE: POSSESSION OF SUBSTANCE IN PENALTY GROUP 3. (a) Except as authorized by this chapter, a person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 3, unless the person obtains the substance directly from or under a valid prescription or order of a practitioner acting in the course of professional practice.

Possession With Intent to Distribute

Some states have laws making it illegal to be in possession of your own prescription drugs under certain circumstances. Most states have laws that make it illegal to carry around pills that are not in their labeled prescription bottle.

In other words, if you are carrying around pills that your doctor prescribed to you, but have them loose in your pocket or purse, that is illegal. The presumption is that you are carrying them in that manner so that you can distribute them.

Purchasing Prescription Drugs over the Internet

Federal law prohibits buying controlled substances such as narcotic pain relievers (e.g., OxyContin®, Vicodin®), sedatives (e.g., Valium®, Xanax®, Ambien®), stimulants (e.g., phentermine, phendimetrazine, Adderall®, Ritalin®) and anabolic steroids (e.g., Winstrol®, Equipoise®) without a valid prescription from your doctor. This means there must be a real doctor-patient relationship, which by most state laws requires a physical examination. Prescriptions written by “cyber doctors” relying on online questionnaires are not legitimate under the law.

Buying controlled substances online without a valid prescription may be punishable by imprisonment under Federal law. Often drugs ordered from rogue websites come from foreign countries. It is a felony to import drugs into the United States and ship to a non-DEA registrant.

Buying drugs online may not be only illegal, but dangerous. The American Medical Association and state boards of medicine and pharmacy have all condemned the practice of cyber doctors issuing online prescriptions as unacceptable medical care. Drugs delivered by rogue websites may be the wrong drugs, adulterated or expired, the wrong dosage strength, or have no dosage directions or warnings.

Hire the Best Houston Prescription Drugs Attorney: The Charles Johnson Law Firm

Some people believe that crimes that involve prescription drugs are treated less seriously than crimes that involve marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs. This is not true, however, and the penalties for prescription drug crimes in Houston can be just as severe as penalties for illegal drug crimes. Depending on the type and amount of drug, the consequences could be significant.

If you have been charged with an offense involving illegal prescription medications, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can successfully represent you and protect your rights.

We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.
Major Credit Cards Accepted.

Arrested for Illegal Prescription Drugs? Talk to the Best Houston Criminal Lawyer
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Need Help Acquiring an Expungement? Hire the Best Houston Criminal Lawyers

Leading Criminal Lawyer in Houston Texas

Call us for help…

For questions about Texas expungement laws, or to discuss your case confidentially with Houston Expungement Lawyer Charles Johnson, do not hesitate to contact us at the Charles Johnson Law Firm. We offer free expungement consultations via phone anytime day or night to see if you qualify to expunge your criminal record.

A criminal conviction can certainly change your life. Even after you’ve paid your debt to society, your criminal record may make it hard to get your life back. Fortunately, Texas provides a way to set the record straight: expungement.

Houston Record Expungement Defense: Hire the Most Effective Houston Criminal Lawyers

Expungement is a legal process through which a charge or conviction could very well be erased from a person’s criminal record. Below you will discover links to in-depth knowledge on expungement.

  • Expungement Basics – Introductory advice on expungement and its legal consequences.
  • Eligibility for Expungement – An arrest or conviction usually must meet certain standards in order to be eligible for expungement.
  • The Expungement Process – A number of steps must be taken before an expungement is granted.
  • Expungement isn’t Always an Option – Expungement isn’t available in all jurisdictions, and may not be an option for certain arrests or convictions.

Expungement Basics

Expungement (also called “expunction”) is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of a charge or a criminal conviction is “sealed,” or erased in the eyes of the law. When a conviction is expunged, the process may perhaps also be often called “setting aside a criminal conviction.” The availability of expungement, and the procedure for getting an arrest or conviction expunged, will vary according to the state or county in that the arrest or conviction transpired.

Legal Effect of an Expungement

An expungement ordinarily means that an arrest or conviction is “sealed,” or erased from a person’s criminal record for most purposes. After the expungement process is complete, a charge or a criminal conviction ordinarily doesn’t necessarily need to be disclosed by the individual who has been arrested or found guilty. For instance, when completing an application for a job or apartment, an applicant whose charge or conviction has been expunged doesn’t need to disclose that arrest or conviction.

In the majority of cases, no record of an expunged charge or conviction will appear in cases where a potential employer, educational institution, or other company conducts a public records inspection or background search of an individual’s criminal history.

An expunged arrest or conviction isn’t really necessarily completely erased, in the literal sense of the word. An expungement will ordinarily be an accessible part of a person’s criminal history, viewable by certain government agencies, such as police officers and the criminal courts. This limited accessibility is in some cases known as a criminal record being “under seal.” In many legal proceedings, that include during sentencing for any type of crimes committed after an expungement, or in immigration / deportation proceedings, an expunged conviction that is “under seal” may possibly still be considered as proof of a past conviction.

Expungement Eligibility

When expungement of an arrest or conviction is an option in a state or county, more often than not a person’s criminal record should meet certain standards in order to qualify for the process.

Whether or not an individual is eligible for expungement will commonly depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of time which has passed since the arrest or conviction
  • The severity and nature of the event for that expungement is sought (i.e. a conviction for a sex criminal offense could possibly lead to a denial of expungement)
  • Events within the applicant’s criminal record (such as arrests or convictions in virtually all jurisdictions, not only the offender’s state/county)
  • The severity and nature of various other events within the applicant’s criminal record

Special eligibility rules might exist for expungement of arrests or convictions that transpired when the offender was a juvenile, and arrests or convictions for sex offenses. Please contact the Finest Criminal Lawyer in Houston TX to talk about your readily available options.

The Expungement Process

Where available to persons who have been arrested or found guilty, expungement does not happen automatically, and is never guaranteed. A person looking to have an arrest or criminal conviction expunged from their record has to in most cases fill out an application or request, and submit the paperwork to the appropriate criminal court for a judge’s review and ruling. In most jurisdictions, a fee must be paid in conjunction with the filing of the application.

The expungement process might be complex. By way of example, a few jurisdictions require an applicant to deliver (or “serve”) papers on district attorneys, while others require the applicant to put together the legal document (or “Order of Expungement”) which will probably be signed by the judge. In certain cases, a court hearing is required, after which a judge will decide whether to grant the expungement.

The Best Houston Criminal Lawyers at the Charles Johnson Law Firm can certainly advise you regarding this challenging process.

Expungement is not Always an Option

It is very important to understand that expungement of an arrest and/or a criminal conviction is not really an option in virtually all states and counties (named “jurisdictions”). Depending on the jurisdiction in that the arrest or conviction transpired:

  • Expungement may not be available at all
  • Expungement may be an option for arrests, but not for convictions
  • Expungement may be an option only for certain criminal convictions
  • Expungement may be an option only for arrests and/or convictions that occurred while the offender was a juvenile
  • Expungement may be available only after a person is acquitted (cleared) of an offense (i.e. charges are dismissed)
  • Expungement may be possible only when a criminal conviction is reversed (i.e. after a successful appeal of the conviction).

Hire The Most Respected Houston Criminal Lawyers! The Charles Johnson Law Firm

In Texas, criminal record expunction or an action to seal your criminal record may help you move on with your life. There are many benefits which flow from misdemeanor or felony expunction or record sealing, including no longer needing to list a prior conviction on a job application or worrying about the possible consequences of an employer’s discovery of your criminal record. The Charles Johnson Law Firm will do everything possible to clear a client’s record. If you are interested, contact the Best Houston Expungement Attorney today.

Need Help Acquiring an Expungement? Hire the Best Houston Criminal Lawyers
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Houston Criminal Lawyers: Coping With An Arrest For Child Porn?

Leading Houston Lawyer
The Leading Houston Criminal Lawyers at the Charles Johnson Law Firm aggressively defend clients charged with a sexual offense. The firm handles all sexual offense charges, whether in state or federal court, and whether the sex crime allegations are against children or adults.

Parties in contentious divorce or custody proceedings have been known to encourage children to say the other parent “touched” them a certain way or otherwise imply molestation. Child care workers, pastors, teachers, coaches, and others are frequently falsely accused. Parents have even been known to target individuals for extortion by coaching children. They may be coached by well-meaning social service and health care professionals, law enforcement officers, and prosecuting attorneys who want to make sure they obtain a conviction regardless of the truth.

Allegations of sex crimes are taken very seriously in Texas, and across the nation. With more stringent penalties being imposed, a false claim unchallenged or a single error in judgment can require you to be a lifelong member of the sex offenders’ registry and database. Before your reputation is devastated, invoke your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. Contact the Charles Johnson Law Firm for a free phone consultation when you are under investigation for sex crimes or if charges have been brought against you for anything from possession and distribution of child pornography to sexual assault and rape.

How is Child Pornography Defined?

Federal and state laws make it a crime to produce, possess, distribute, or sell pornographic materials that exploit or portray a minor. Increasingly, child pornography laws are being utilized to punish use of computer technology and the Internet to obtain, share, and distribute pornographic material involving children, including images and films.

Under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), child pornography is defined as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where

  • the production of the visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
  • the visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
  • the visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
  • Federal law (18 U.S.C. §1466A) also criminalizes knowingly producing, distributing, receiving, or possessing with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting, that
  • depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or
  • depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Sexually explicit conduct is defined under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256) as actual or simulated sexual intercourse (including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex), bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.

Who Is a Minor?

For purposes of enforcing the federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), “minor” is defined as a person under the age of 18.

Is Child Pornography a Crime?

Yes, it is a federal crime to knowingly possess, manufacture, distribute, or access with intent to view child pornography (18 U.S.C. §2252). In addition, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws criminalizing the possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography. As a result, a person who violates these laws may face federal and/or state charges.

Where Is Child Pornography Predominantly Found?

Child pornography exists in multiple formats including print media, videotape, film, CD-ROM, or DVD. It is transmitted on various platforms within the Internet including newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat (chatrooms), Instant Message, File Transfer Protocol, e-mail, websites, and peer-to-peer technology.

What Motivates People Who Possess Child Pornography?

Limited research about the motivations of people who possess child pornography suggests that child pornography possessors are a diverse group, including people who are

  • sexually interested in prepubescent children or young adolescents, who use child pornography for sexual fantasy and gratification
  • sexually “indiscriminate,” meaning they are constantly looking for new and different sexual stimuli
  • sexually curious, downloading a few images to satisfy that curiosity
  • interested in profiting financially by selling images or setting up web sites requiring payment for access

Who Possesses Child Pornography?

It is difficult to describe a “typical” child pornography possessor because there is not just one type of person who commits this crime.

In a study of 1,713 people arrested for the possession of child pornography in a 1-year period, the possessors ran the gamut in terms of income, education level, marital status, and age. Virtually all of those who were arrested were men, 91% were white, and most were unmarried at the time of their crime, either because they had never married (41%) or because they were separated, divorced, or widowed (21%).3

Forty percent (40%) of those arrested were “dual offenders,” who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography, with both crimes discovered in the same investigation. An additional 15% were dual offenders who attempted to sexually victimize children by soliciting undercover investigators who posed online as minors.4

Who Produces Child Pornography?

Based on information provided by law enforcement to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Child Victim Identification Program, more than half of the child victims were abused by someone who had legitimate access to them such as parents, other relatives, neighborhood/family friends, babysitters, and coaches.

What is the Nature of These Images?

The content in these illegal images varies from exposure of genitalia to graphic sexual abuse, such as penetration by objects, anal penetration, and bestiality.

Of the child pornography victims identified by law enforcement, 42% appear to be pubescent, 52% appear to be prepubescent, and 6% appear to be infants or toddlers.

Possible Punishment for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor/Child Pornography

If the photographs include children who are fourteen (14) years of age or younger, it is a Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC) and carries a very severe penalty. A first offense carries the following punishment for each and every conviction: ten (10) years minimum in prison; seventeen (17) years presumptive in prison; twenty-four (24) years maximum incarceration.

If convicted of one previous predicate felony (which includes a prior DCAC, among other serious felonies), the range of punishment increases to a minimum twenty-one (21) years, presumptive twenty-eight years (28), and maximum thirty-five (35) years. Because this is a DCAC, 100% of the prison time must be served before being eligible for release. In addition, if the person is convicted of two (2) counts, they must be run consecutive to each other (i.e., the minimum is now twenty (20) years in prison, and all other ranges double). This is why these charges are sometimes referred to as “life enders”.

The maximum penalty on a Sexual Exploitation charge actually carries more time than the maximum penalty on a Second Degree Murder charge. A conviction will require you to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of your life, and you are not allowed to have any contact with anyone under the age of eighteen (18) (this includes your own children), without going through numerous testing procedures and only with the consent of your Probation Officer.

If the child was ages fifteen – seventeen (15-17), it is not sentenced pursuant to the DCAC statute. A first offense class two (2) felony, carries punishment of probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of three (3) years to twelve and one half (12.5) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is four and one half (4.5) years to twenty-three and one quarter (23.25) years in prison. If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is ten and one half (10.5) to thirty-five (35) years of incarceration.

Possible Defenses for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor/Child Pornography

The critical defenses to Child Porn charges involve showing that the person did not “knowingly” possess, receive, or do any of the listed actions with the images. One way of asserting this defense is by presenting evidence that the defendant was not the person who accessed the images. If it can be shown that there were multiple users who had access to the computer, and who did in fact use the computer often, then it is much more difficult for the State to prove the defendant actually accessed the images, rather than some other person. This defense is especially appropriate whe